Due to the feast of St John the Evangelist falling on Sunday, this Mass was transferred to today.
This is the only day within the Christmas Octave which is not a Saint’s Feast. During the Octaves of the Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost, the Church is so absorbed in the respective mysteries that she puts off everything that could share her attention; whereas during this of Christmas, there is only one day which does not celebrate the memory of some glorious Saint, and our Infant Jesus is surrounded by a choir of heroes who loved and served him. Thus the Church, or, more correctly, God—for God is the first author of the cycle of the year—shows us how the Incarnate Word, who came to save mankind, desires to give mankind confidence by this his adorable familiarity.
We have already shown that the Birth of our Lord took place on a Sunday, the Day on which, in the beginning of the world, God created Light. We shall find, later on, that his Resurrection also was on a Sunday. This the first day of creation, and the first of the week, was consecrated by the old Pagans to the Sun: with us Christians, it is most sacred and holy, on account of the two risings of our divine Sun of Justice—his Birth and his Resurrection. Whilst the solemnity of Easter is always kept on a Sunday, that of Christmas falls by turns on each of the days of the week—we have already had this difference explained to us by the Holy Fathers: but the mystery of Jesus’ Birth is more aptly and strongly expressed, when its anniversary falls on a Sunday. Other years, when the coincidence does not happen, the Faithful will at least be led by their Christian instincts, to give especial honour to the day within the Octave which falls on the Sunday. The Church has honoured it with a proper Mass and Office.
It was at midnight that the Lord delivered his people from bondage, by the Passage of his destroying Angel over the land of the Egyptians: so also was it in the still hour of midnight (ref introit) that Jesus, the Angel of Great Counsel, came down from his royal throne, bringing mercy to our earth. It is just, that whilst commemorating this second Passage, the Church should sing the praises of her Emmanuel, who comes, clad in his strength and beauty, to take possession of his Kingdom.
INTROIT Wis 18:14 – 15.
When a profound stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful Word, O Lord, bounded from heaven’s royal throne. Ps 92:1 The Lord is King, in splendor robed; robed is the Lord and girt about with strength. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. When a profound stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful Word, O Lord, bounded from heaven’s royal throne.
O Almighty and eternal God, direct our actions in conformity with Your will, that in the name of Your beloved Son we may be worthy to do good works in abundance.
Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen
Commemoration of the Nativity
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R.Amen.
EPISTLE Gal 4:1 – 7
Lesson from the letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Galatians: Brethren: As long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the master of all; but he is under guardians an stewards until the time set by his father. So we too, when we were children, were enslaved under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So that He is no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, an heir also through God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44:3, 2
Fairer in beauty are You than the sons of men; grace is poured out upon Your lips. V. My heart overflows with a goodly theme; as I sing my ode to the King, my tongue is nimble as the pen of a skillful scribe. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Ps 92:1 The Lord is King, in splendor robed; robed is the Lord and girt about with strength. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 2: 33-40
At that time, Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus were marvelling at the things spoken concerning Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And your own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. There was also Anna, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her maidenhood, and by herself as a widow to eighty-four years. She never left the temple, with fastings and prayers worshipping night and day. And coming up at that very hour, she began to give praise to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had fulfilled all things as prescribed in the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, into their own town of Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong. He was full of wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 92:1-2
God has made the world firm, not to be moved. Your throne, O God, stands firm from of old; from everlasting You are.
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the gift offered in the sight of Your majesty may obtain for us the grace of reverent devotion and secure us eternal happiness. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Die sexta post Nativitatem
Make holy the sacrificial gifts we offer, O Lord, and by the new birth of Your only-begotten Son cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Nativity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: for through the Mystery of the word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may be through Him be drawn to the love of things invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dóminations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
Communicating, and keeping this most holy day, in which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world and also reverencing the memory of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also blessed Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin, of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection (He joins his hands.) Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt 2:20
Take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.
By the working of this sacrament, O Lord, may our sins be erased and our just desires fulfilled. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio Die sexta post Nativitatem
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the Savior of the world, born this day, Who is the author of our birth in godliness, may bestow on us immortal life. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen