Dear Brothers and sisters
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favours!”(Luke 2:13-14)
As we celebrate the birth day of the Babe of Bethlehem, I wish you “A joyous, peaceful and grace -filled Christmas and a hopeful, prosperous, and promising New Year-2014." I pen to express my greetings to you and your families. I think not only of those who live within our parish but also your family members, dear and near ones, on this special season of the year.
Christmas reminds us that our God is not a distant God but a God who is with us,-“Emmanuel.” May the Emanuel God find place in our hearts and homes. During this season, we Christians, remember and celebrate that sacred moment in human history when God entered in our world, becoming part of every one of us and the whole human race. Christmas brings us back to the source of our life and existence. God has come into the world, with His love, peace and hope that makes us joyful and rejoicing. His light has shone in our darkness and no darkness can overpower this light.
As a priest, for many years, in this parish of our lady of the Rosary, I feel privileged and so uplifted by the huge number of the dedicated parishioners who minister, in many ways, alongside us, the priests, with dedication and enthusiasm. In truth you are the heart of the parish. Working together we aim to have a parish that is inclusive where everyone is and feels welcome. This always gives a feeling of a “One Family” which Christ wants to create in us. On this special season, I wish to leave a note of gratitude for your participation, support and generosity in making this parish a \'Family\'
I pray that the presence of the Christ-Child will grace your home during this Christmas season and throughout the coming year -2014. May God bless you.
Yours in the Lord,
Fr. Selvaraj Arockiam OFM, Cap.
A reading from the prophet Jeremiah 20:7-9
The word of the Lord has brought me derision.
You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the LORD has brought me derision and reproach all the day.
I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R: MY SOUL IS THIRSTING FOR YOU, O LORD MY GOD.
1. O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. R.
2. Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory, For your kindness is a greater good than life; my lips shall glorify you. R.
3. Thus will I bless you while I live; lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name. As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. R.
4. You are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. My soul clings fast to you; your right hand upholds me. R.
A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans 12:1-2
Often your bodies as a living sacrifice.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
The Word of the Lord.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself.
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
The Gospel of the Lord GENERAL INTERCESSIONS:
CELEBRANT: Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to follow him to carry the cross after him and to entrust to him all who suffer. Let us say to him: LORD, BE OUR STRENGTH.
1. For the Church, that Christ may become more visible in its commitment to serve God and people, in its loving concern for the poor and its continuous conversion to the Gospel, let us pray.
2. For all Christians who claim to follow Christ, that they may live up without fear to the demands of the Gospel and bear witness to the crucified Lord, let us pray.
3. For those who suffer in their bodies and their hearts, for those who work for justice in the world and for peace among people, that they may realize that they are one with the Lord Jesus in his passion and death, let us pray.
4. For those whom it is difficult to accept God’s will and their mission in life, that they may encounter friends who inspire them to regain their trust in God and people, and who encourage them when they are afraid, let us pray.
5. For us gathered here for the Eucharist, that we may honestly seek God’s will in union with Jesus our Lord, let us pray.
CELEBRANT: Lord Jesus Christ, you invite us to follow you and to offer your sacrifice with you. We wish to work with you to bring your life and grace to all our brothers and sisters. Be with us now and forever. Amen.