AD SENSE

Christmas 2019 - Liturgy

Wednesday December 25, 2019

CHRISTMAS: MIDNIGHT MASS

1. Flesh From Our Flesh
2. A Recognizable God
3. The Face of God

Both the playing of the organ and the lighting of the church remain subdued during the processional entrance of the minister. One of the ministers goes to the lectern for announcing the Christmas proclamation. There is full lighting after the Proclamation.


1.  Flesh From Our Flesh

Christmas Proclamation

Two thousand years ago, in the immense and powerful Roman Empire, Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken. Somewhere in the border region of Palestine, a young, humble couple, Mary and Joseph, set out from the insignificant town of Nazareth and traveled to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. There was no room for them in the inn, and so Mary gave birth to a son and had to put him in a manger. An angel said to poor shepherds: "That child lying in the manger is the Savior born to you and to the world: He is Christ the Lord.” This same news is proclaimed to us: Your Savior is born to you. You are happy and you smile. But now you must proclaim in word and deed that Jesus is your Savior and Lord. Let your mercy and love proclaim him. Let your sense of justice and fairness proclaim him. Let your love and unity proclaim him. Let your concern for the poor and your welcome to the weak proclaim him. Then we can really sing with one voice tonight: "Glory to God in the highest and peace to the people he loves.”

Greeting

The Lord is here with you.
R/ And also with you.

Introduction

Yes, we are assured tonight that the Lord is really with us: He smiles on us through a little child lying newborn in a manger. God has come to us in his humble way. The star of his coming has come to rest on this church, on this community. Are we humble and little enough to accept him the way he comes to us?

Because of the Christmas proclamation, the Penitential Act could perhaps be omitted. For those who prefer to keep it:

Penitential Act

We have lost our freshness and grown tired
because of our sins and failures.
Let us tell the Lord that we are sorry
and acclaim his coming among us.
(pause)
People living in darkness,
here comes your light.
Let it enlighten and save you:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

People wounded and burdened,
here comes your Savior.
Let him heal you.
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

People who keep hoping,
here comes God as a child
to make you adults in faith and love.
Let him bring you peace.
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Lord, let the peace of your pardon
come over us and over our world.
Lead us to the joy of a new world
and of everlasting life. R/ Amen.

2. A Recognizable God

Christmas Proclamation

In the beginning God created the world.
God created the human person as a partner.
He guided this person all throughout his history.
God calls Abraham and Abraham gives up his idols.
He becomes a pilgrim.
God calls Moses and humanity gives up its chains.
The human person too becomes a liberator.
Gad calls David and humanity gives up its wanderings.
The human person becomes someone who hopes.
God calls the prophets
and people begin to give up sin.
The human person becomes God’s voice.
God calls up witnesses who believe in him
and people give up their security.
The human person becomes a martyr.
God calls a man named John:
John leaves everything and goes to the desert.
There God waits for him to speak to him.
And God gives his Son, born of Mary.
And to our great joy, everything begins anew.

Greeting

The Lord be with you.
R/ And also with you.

Introduction

Tonight the world is reminded how God became flesh from our flesh and blood from our blood. He joined us in our human poverty as he was born from the Virgin Mary in a stable by the roadside. There people could see how God had eyes to smile at us, ears to hear our cries and stammering, arms to extend to us and embrace us, a heart to beat for us and to love us, a mouth to speak to us words of endearment and truth, a life to live for us and to give up for us. Has his coming changed us and brought us close to him?

Penitential Act

Jesus came among us as our Savior,
to liberate us from our sins.
Have we become better because of him?
Let us examine ourselves before the Lord.
(pause)
Lord Jesus, you came to bring us peace.
Let it also be the peace of your forgiveness.
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, you came to bring us light.
Let it brighten all we do:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you came to bring us life:
Let our lives reflect the goodness of yours:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Deliver us Lord, from the sadness of sin
and fill us with the joy of your life and love.
Lead us to the happiness of everlasting life. R/ Amen.

3. The Face of God

Christmas proclamation for the Midnight Mass

It is night, but the night that promises the dawn
and the light that drives away all darkness.
This night promises the end of the darkness
of sin and evil and death.
It is the night of peace,
for a child is born to us:
he is the prince of peace,
a child, but our mighty God.
If we let him live among us, we live in peace.
It is the night of joy.
Do away with all sadness,
for God is now with us, among us, in us:
Share your joy, make others happy,
for God’s Son brings us life and happiness.
It is the night of giving birth:
Mary gives us Jesus, her Son, God’s Son,
and from now on we can all give birth
to love and forgiveness among us.
With Jesus we can open our eyes and ears
to the needs of anyone who suffers.
It is the night of friendship,
for God makes us not only his friends
but his sons and daughters
and brothers and sisters of Jesus.
We belong together,
we are of the same flesh and blood.
Come, let’s rejoice together
and walk together in love,
for Christ is born to us.

Greeting

A holy and joyful Christmas to all of you!
Christ is born to us,
he lives in us.
May he always be with you. R/ And also with you.

Introduction

When God wanted to show himself as he is in a way we could understand, he became human, one of us, appearing with the face of a child. He showed himself in all our fragility, as if saying: Do you see now that I am near to you, that I am with you not to overpower you but with the face of peace and love and trust? Let us welcome with joy the Lord who comes to live among us and to join us on the journey of life. Now we can become more like God.

Penitential Act

Certain that Jesus brings us forgiveness and life,
we acclaim him as our Savior:
(pause)
Lord Jesus, with the angels we say:
Glory to God and peace to God’s people!
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, with the shepherds
we come to you and love you:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, with Mary and Joseph
we receive you with great joy:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Forgive us all our sins, Lord,
and let us live in your peace and joy.
Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

Opening Prayer

Let us pray to our loving God
for giving us Jesus
(pause)
Glory to you, God in the highest,
for bringing peace on earth to your people
and for letting your Son Jesus smile on us
from the arms of Mary, his mother.
Let him be our hope and our joy,
our forgiveness and our life.
Create us anew in the image of Jesus,
for then we become more like him,
you may recognize us in him
and our love can become deep and faithful.
Help us to give him to the world,
that all may become fresh and new again
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

First Reading: A Light In Our Darkness

A child born to us will bring us light and peace from God.

Reading 1: IS 9:1-6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David's throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Responsorial Psalm: 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13

R. (Lk 2:11) Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Second Reading: Jesus, the Gift of God’s Grace

The coming of Jesus was God’s gift of grace to all people. But he depends on our cooperation.

Reading 2: TI 2:11-14

Beloved:
The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.

Alleluia: LK 2:10-11

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I proclaim to you good news of great joy:
today a Savior is born for us,
Christ the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Today A Savior Has Been Born To Us

This is the Good News of today: a Savior has been born to us. Let us give glory to God.

Gospel: LK 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Intercessions

Joy is to be shared. Let us pray to Jesus our Lord that the Good News of his coming may warm the hearts of all, and let us say: R/ Lord, stay with your people.
– That today may be a feast of joy for all our families and for all to whom we bring a bit of happiness this day, let us pray: R/ Lord, stay with your people.
– That today may be a feast of joy for all children far and near, to those who are happy and to those who hunger and suffer, let us pray: R/ Lord, stay with your people.
– That today may be a feast of faith for those who know the Lord and for those who do not yet know him, let us pray: R/ Lord, stay with your people.
– That today may again become a feast of peace for those divided by quarrels, for countries divided by war, let us pray: R/ Lord, stay with your people.
– That today may be a feast of joy for all our Christian communities and that we may share that joy as we go together the Lord’s way of peace, let us pray: R/ Lord, stay with your people.
Lord Jesus, you are one of us. Help us to become more like you, that we may become your joy as you are ours now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts

Father,
with bread and wine we celebrate
the family feast of your Son.
He is one of us, and we are happy.
Let our joy be shared by all,
that people from all races and nations
may come and share his table.
Let there be no end to our feast
and no limit to our love and generosity,
for now there lives among us your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

Let our joy for the coming of God’s Son flow into a prayer of thanksgiving to our generous Father in heaven.

Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

God has indeed become our Father through Jesus, who made himself our brother. With him we say with the fullest trust: R/ Our Father...

Prayer for Peace

Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth was the beginning
of a new peace for all the people you love.
May this Christmas sing of the glory of God
by leading us to walk hand in hand
and to share your tenderness.
Be our God with us that there may be peace,
now and for ever. R/ Amen.

May the peace of the Lord be always with you
R/ And also with you.

Let us generously share the peace of the Lord
with one another.

Invitation to Communion

This is Jesus the Lord,
God’s Son and our brother,
our God-with-us.
He is our living bread come down from heaven.
Happy are we to receive him
as our joy and peace. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

Prayer after Communion

Father,
what more can we say tonight
than “Thank you, thank you again”
for coming to us in a way
we do not even dare to expect.
Do not allow us to get so accustomed
to the presence of your Son among us
that we forget that he is here
and that we fail to recognize him
in the heart of our lives
and in the faces of our brothers and sisters.
Let his justice rule our earth
and his peace and love be alive in us,
for he is our Lord for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

Blessing

Our hearts can sing tonight with joy
of God’s love for us, his people.
With Mary we can sing her song of thanksgiving:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has done great things for us.”
Yes, we remember on Christmas
that his Son Jesus has become one of us.
He is here as our companion in life.
He lifts up the wounded,
and he shows us in himself
that God loves us very deeply
and will never abandon us.
With joy we receive the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
GO IN PEACE AND AGAIN
A HOLY, HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU.
R/ THANKS BE TO GOD.

Commentary

You might not expect any negative talk on Christmas day; and yet, a brief look at the world indicates that things are not going well.
Most of the time relationships among people might break down because people don’t keep their promises. This creates conflict and division that, as they escalate and become more and more entangled, can result in family breakdown, work conflicts, or even in war; and on Christmas day, we really want to talk about peace.
My mom used to say that once you have given your word, you cannot take it back. It is equivalent to surrendering your own honor. Even an offer, an invitation, an affirmation, which are not strictly promises, cannot be withdrawn. We don’t need to sign a contract for this. The word given is extremely important and binding; and yet, we see today that many people do not feel tied by their own words. Faithfulness is promised in marriage and then easily broken; assurances are made at work and then not fulfilled; children are presented with family rules and at times even the parents break them.
That is not the case with God. God has just one word that he will never change or withdraw. The Word of God made flesh is the best news we could have and the only one we can fully believe. The Word of God is Jesus and it is a constant yes which never withdraws; never leaves a promised unfulfilled, never lies. The living Word that is Jesus born today can make all our words good. The Word of God is faithfulness, it does not change from one day to the next. It is good news promising salvation.
What does salvation mean for us? Someone told me once that her life was saved in a serious accident. It was impressive and strong and yet, not half as impressive and strong as the salvation brought about by the Word of God, which implies salvation from everything that ties us down, from all our lies and the lies of others. It is the best news, the one that makes all things new and the only one of which we can be sure—the only one we can fully trust. That is, truly, what we celebrate at Christmas, the coming to the world of an incarnate God who is always a yes. He is our salvation and he is our only chance for peace.

Points to Ponder

How do I fulfill the Word I give?
Has someone recently failed me after giving me his or her word?
In which ways do I feel the Word of God, Jesus himself, who never fails me?