Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Memorial of Saint Nicholas († 350). He was a bishop in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) and is venerated throughout East.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Psalm 96, 1-3.10-13

1 O sing to the Lord a new song;
  sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
  tell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,
  his marvellous works among all the peoples.

10 Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
  The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
  He will judge the peoples with equity.’

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
  let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

12 let the field exult, and everything in it.
  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

13  before the Lord; for he is coming,
  for he is coming to judge the earth.
  He will judge the world with righteousness,
  and the peoples with his truth.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

With this psalm, which echoes the ascent of the ark to Jerusalem, the believer is called to praise the Lord who has ascended on his throne. Everyone, the heavens, the earth, the sea, the fields, the trees of the forest, and the families of peoples are all invited to sing praises to the Lord. Three times during the psalm the invitation to “Sing!” is repeated. The entire world rejoices before the news that God has come to “govern” and “judge” the earth. The psalmist makes us think of a liturgical assembly gathered in the Temple to praise the Lord and exhorts his listeners: “Bring an offering, and come to his courts. Worship the Lord in holy splendour” (v. 8-9). Indeed, the psalmist’s gaze quickly turns to encompass the world and the whole of humanity. The whole earth, all the nations, all the gods, and all the peoples are invited to enter the temple. It is the centre of Israel’s worship, the place that God has chosen as a dwelling place, but it is no longer reserved for Israel alone. From now on it belongs to all the “families of the peoples” (v. 7-8). The procession that sees Israel and all the peoples of the earth enter into the temple together in one pilgrimage and in one only procession is full of meaning. The tension between the temple and the world deeply marks the faith of Israel. God’s people was not chosen for itself and to be concerned only about its own salvation The Lord has entrusted his people with a universal mission: to communicate to all the peoples of the earth that there is one God who wants salvation for everyone, nobody excluded. When Abraham was elected he was given a responsibility for the whole of humanity: “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:3). God’s plan that emerges in the Holy Scriptures is universal: God wants to gather and unite all the families of the peoples together. The psalmist exhorts Israel: “tell of his salvation from day to day, declare his glory among the nations” (v. 2-3). The invitation is clear: “tell” and “say” that “the Lord is king” in the midst of the peoples (v.10). This universal tension becomes more evident in the Gospel message. Jesus’ preaching begins by communicating the good news of the coming of the Kingdom of God for all people: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near” (Mk 1:15). This is the heart of Jesus’ preaching since its very beginning. With Jesus, the Kingdom of God has come near to men and women; indeed it has come among us. Gathered in God’s plan, Christians are called to be artisans of this plan. The vocation of the Church—which Pope Francis keeps reminding us all — is to favour, in every possible way, mutual encounter among the peoples of the earth so that they walk toward the Kingdom of God which has begun. Prayer with Mary, Mother of the Lord