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Liturgy Alive

December 29, 2020

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Tuesday December 29

5th Day in the Octave of Christmas

 A Light for All the Nations



God comes to his temple today as if incognito, as a child carried in the arms of its mother. Simeon, the old man in the Temple, took Jesus in his arms and recognized this child as the Savior expected by the Jews in the Old Testament but also as the salvation of all people. In him, the old Israel can fade away in peace. This child was to be the glory of Israel, yes, but also the light to enlighten everyone including pagans. He comes to us now not merely to be the light of us Christians. He does not belong to us alone but to all. St. John tells us how to reflect the light of Christ: all those who love their neighbors are living in the light.


Opening Prayer

God, Father of light,
the old man, Simeon, recognized your Son
as the light that would shine on all.
May we too, recognize Jesus,
even if he comes to us in a humble way,
in the shape and person of a child,
of old people, of the poor and the little ones.
Make us receive him too,
as the light not only of our lives
but as the bright dawn for all nations.
For you are the Father of all
and Jesus belongs to all as their Savior and Lord,
now and for ever.


Reading 1: 1 JN 2:3-11

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.


Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 5B-6

  1. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
    Sing to the LORD a new song;
    sing to the LORD, all you lands.
    Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
    R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
    Announce his salvation, day after day.
    Tell his glory among the nations;
    among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
    R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
    The LORD made the heavens.
    Splendor and majesty go before him;
    praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
    R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!


Alleluia LK 2:32

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    A light of revelation to the Gentiles
    and glory for your people Israel.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel LK 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”



Simeon was a pious and just man, now advanced in years, who devoutly fulfilled his temple responsibilities. He had been assured that he would live to see the messiah before he died, which, as a devout Jew, he longed to do. In today’s Gospel he meets the parents of Jesus, who had come to the temple for the presentation of their child. As Simeon embraces the child, he praises God for this gift, which is to be the “light for the revela­tion to the Gentiles.” But there are shadows on the scene as well. Jesus is destined to be a cause of division, and his mother will not escape the pain of that division.

Simeon lived to see the light. And it is John who today spells out the meaning of the symbolic light and darkness. To accept the truth of Christ is to embrace die light; to reject him is to walk in darkness. And what does it mean to accept the light? First of all, says the episode, it means to pattern our lives on his, to live as he did. And second, it means to love one’s brother and sister. To walk in darkness is to see the Christ event as meaningless and to live with a spirit of hostility to others. Yes, this teaching is repeated over and over again in John. But the fact remains that it is the heart of the Christian message.

Christmas is a feast of lights. It appears on Christmas trees, candles in the window, tree-lit streets. But does it really speak to us of the light of the truth that Christ brought into the world?

Our life today is overcast by the clouds of darkness. Living for the moment, the cult of affluence, lustful promiscuity—all

play their part in modern culture. And this is only magnified in the world of politics and government. There is the expanding chasm between rich and poor on a global scale. There is the desire to use other countries for our own selfish ends. In our own coun­try, there is the marked separation between the “haves” and the “have nots,” so evident when disaster strikes.

Yes, the light is ours. But it is not to remain hidden under the basket. It is to shine forth in our own life and conviction and find its way to the marketplace, the boardroom, the ballot box, and the halls of Congress.

The tinsel of Christmas will pass, but it’s True Light must prevail.


Points to Ponder

Christ the fulfillment of promise

Lifelong dedication

The unity of the Testaments

The darkness of our times

The light of Christ today



–   For all parents, who take their children to church for baptism, that God may bless them and their children, we pray:

–   For all parents, who suffer when their children bring sorrow to them, that they may keep trusting in the Lord, we pray:

–   For all peoples, who come to know Christ, that they may accept him as their joy and life, we pray:


Prayer over the Gifts

Loving God,
a humble piece of bread and a little wine
are enough to let Jesus come among us.
Enliven these simple gifts with your Spirit,
that we may welcome among us
him, who enlightens all nations
with his joy and the bright morning,
of true justice and deep commitment,
of loving service, a sense of compassion
and a boundless generosity,
Jesus, the Savior of all and our Lord.


Prayer after Communion

God of light,
we have sat at the festive table
of him who came to unite all peoples far and near
as brothers and sisters,
who can love and accept one another,
notwithstanding all their differences
of race and culture,
of social standing and personality.
Make us believe and practice
that this is only possible
in him, who became one of us
and who laid down his life for all,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.



May the Holy Spirit rest also on us, that we accept and recognize Jesus as the Lord and Savior of everyone and the light that brightens the lives of all. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



December 29, 2020