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 book of Exodus 22:20-26
If you wrong the widow and the orphan, my wrath will flare up against you.
Thus says the LORD:"You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.
My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.
"If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him. If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate."
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
R: I love you, Lord, my strength.
1. I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. R.
2. My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies. R
3. The LORD lives and blessed be my rock! Extolled be God my savior. You who gave great victories to your king and showed kindness to your anointed. R.
A reading from the first letter of St Paul
to the Thessalonians 1:5-10
You turned from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven.
Brothers and sisters: You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
The Word of the Lord.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord,
And my Father will love him and we will come to him
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
You shall love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
The Gospel of the Lord
CELEBRANT: Let us pray to our kind and merciful God that his love for us may animate all we do and that our love may become contagious. Let us say: LORD, MAKE US INSTRUMENTS OF YOUR LOVE.
1. That the Church, the People of God, may never cease to proclaim by its teaching, life and liturgy that love of God and neighbor is the heart of the gospel and that people are God's gift to us, let us pray. R.
2. That people may not lose their hearts in today's economic systems of profit, efficiency, production and competition, but that they may keep giving first place to human relationships of friendship and respect, let us pray. R.
3. That we may have room in our hearts and homes for refugees and strangers, that we may learn to share our goods and ourselves with the little people loved by God - the poor and the lonely and those who suffer, let us pray. R.
4. That those who don't know how to forgive, those who have not experienced much happiness in life or whose longings have not been fulfilled may encounter a bit of God's goodness in our attention and care, let us pray. R.
5. That in our Christian communities we may uplift one another rather than tear down, accept each other with trust and affection, forgive one another from the heart and go forward together in hope and love, let us pray. R.
CELEBRANT: Our gentle God, help us to love you and one another with your measure, that is, without measure, in Christ Jesus our Lord.. Amen.