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THE SUNDAY LITURGY

  
 
EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
We have come to worship Him

ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power.

PENITENTIAL   RITE
The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates   the appearance  of God in human form and his manifestation to the whole of humanity  through  the persons of the Magi. Though we are led by the light of faith, we, unlike the wise men from the east, often fail  to respond to that light, refuse to follow and offer ourselves to him. Now for all our failures, let us repent and ask pardon from the Lord. (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING   PRAYER
Let us pray. Father, you revealed your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to your glory in heaven by the light of faith.

FIRST   READING
(The prophet rejoices at the return of Gods glory to Jerusalem. He encourages and promises them a glorious future.)

A reading from the Book of Isaiah    (60:1-6)
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Epha; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM (71)
Response: All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.
O God, give your judgment to the king, to a kings son your justice, that he may judge your people in justice and your poor in right judgment. R.

In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails. He shall rule from sea to sea, from the Great River to earths bounds.  R.

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts shall pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts. Before him all kings shall fall prostrate, all nations shall serve him.  R.

For he shall save the poor when they cry and the needy who are helpless. He will have pity on the weak and save the lives of the poor. R.

SECOND  READING
(Both the Jews and  Gentiles are called to the glory of God. They are reconciled and united in Christ.)

A reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Ephesians (3:2-3, 5-6)
Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of Gods grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. This mystery was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
This is the Word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION  (Mt 2:2)
Alleluia, alleluia! We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship the Lord. Alleluia!

GOSPEL
(The three  wise men  from the east are  led by the star to the feet of Jesus. They recognize Marys Child as the Saviour-King and pay homage to him, but the Jewish leaders reject him.)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew  (2:1-12)
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him. When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by a different way.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,  God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from  heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again, in fulfillment of the  Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through  the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic  Church. We  acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We  look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYER  OF  THE  FAITHFUL
Cel: Let us pray to the Father who sent his Son to guide us to our heavenly  home. God wants that all peoples recognize His Love revealed in Christ. Let us ask Jesus to lead us to the Father as we present our  needs and expectations. Let us offer to the Lord our hearts, our desires and needs. Trusting in his faithfulness let us pray,
Response: Lord, hear our prayer.

1.For Holy Father the Pope, and for all leaders of the Church that illumined by the light of Christ they may reflect the glory of Christ in the world, and be open to the Spirit and share with people their experience of God.  R.

2. For the leaders of the nations, that they may follow the star of their conscience and  may strive to build a better world, founded on justice,  peace and universal brotherhood.  R.

3. For  all  Christians  all over the   world  that  they may grow in the love God and neighbour, and may discover  Christ in their neighbour and  become like shining stars radiating  the light of faith to all they meet.  R.

4.  For the people of all faiths, especially for those who  like the Magi,  search  for God in their own unique way, that they may discover the star  that will lead them to Jesus who saves them and reveals to them the Father.  R.

5.  For the young people sruggling to discern the will of God for them, that they may be guided by the star of true wisdom in their decisions.   R.

(Pray for personal/local needs.)

Cel: God our loving Father, we acknowledge  your Son as the only Saviour. Accept our petitions and grant all that we need. Fill our hearts with your love, open our hearts to your Spirit that he may guide us to the vision of your glory. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRAYER   OVER   THE   GIFTS
Lord, accept the offerings of your Church, not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but the sacrifice and the food they symbolize; Jesus Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever.

PREFACE   (P 6)

COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
We have seen his star in the East and have come with gifts to adore the Lord.

PRAYER   AFTER   COMMUNION
Father, guide us with your light. Help us to recognise Christ in this eucharist and welcome him with love, for he is Lord for ever and ever.
 

LITURGY AND  LIFE

When Jesus came into the world, it was eagerly waiting for the coming of God. At last  when He came the ends of the earth, in the persons of the Magi, were gathered  at His cradle. It was the first sign and symbol of the world conquest of Christ. Jesus came as a member of the Jewish race, but todays liturgy emphasizes that the God-made-man was a man for all people, and not for one  nation alone.
With regard to Jesus, people always take  different stands. From the gospels we see that as soon as Jesus is  born  into this world, people  categorize into  three groups.  We have the reaction  of the first group  in Herod the great, a reaction of hatred and  hostility when he hears that a king of the Jews  has been born. He is afraid that this Child  is going to interfere with his life, his power, his position and influence. And his natural instinct is  to destroy Jesus. So he orders the massacre of the children. Also today  there are people  who would gladly destroy Jesus (silence ones conscience), because  they see in him  one who interferes with their life, because He does not  let them do what they want. When our comfort, our ease, our  ego are threatened,  we order the murder of the innocent to preserve our power and prestige. Herod represents the resistance of this world to Jesus kingship.
 We have the scribes and the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders in the second group. They have the knowledge of the Scriptures, but the very guardians of the law fail to believe what they know from the Scriptures, much less to follow it.  Their reaction to the news of Jesus birth is total indifference.  On the other hand the wise men, the third group, follow the star. Their study of the stars leads them not only   up to Jerusalem, to the door of the  Jewish Scripture but from there they need its light to lead them to the Saviour-King. Theirs is a  reaction of adoring worship. From far they come with the desire to adore, to pay homage, to lay at the feet of Jesus the noblest gifts they could bring. What the Magi sought from afar, and what so many are still searching for today,  is our privilege to know through the revelation of faith  which we have received.
The Magi are the symbols of hope  for those who struggle on their way  to God by strange, unfamiliar and untravelled routes.  We travel by routes mapped out by generations of Christians, and so we  must not  condemn those  who take  roads other than ours to  reach God. They too search for the same God, and  it is a strange paradox that the strangers, the vagabonds  who  seem straying,   have often the  right route to God. The Magis journey to the cradle of Jesus is the symbol of the journey  each one of us should make in our lives to God. Their trip was long and hard, full of dangers, uncertainties, difficulties and obstacles,but ultimately their perseverance and faithfulness led them to Jesus. Today many in the world struggle in their journey to God, many will be ridiculed, invited to take easy paths, other familiar roads, instead of the one leading to Jesus.
Today we are invited to look for the star that  rises in our hearts, and it will summon us to leave our homes, our safe havens,  our familiar and safe  abodes, and  embark on a journey  to where Jesus awaits for us. This journey of faith to Jesus-experience is  fraught with  perils, risks, dangers and uncertainties. But today, all of us  and all  who are on the journey to Jesus are encouraged and spurred on  by the overwhelming and immense joy and peace  the Magi experienced  when the star stopped over  Bethlehem and beheld the divine Child, but that joy came only at the end of their arduous journey with its  risks and perils and fears.

 PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
Today we celebrate the close of the Christmas festival of light. Candles are blessed and we carry them in procession to welcome Christ, the light of the nations.
BLESSING   OF   CANDLES  AND PROCESSION
The people gather in a chapel or other suitable place outside the church where the Mass will be celebrated. They carry unlighted candles. While the candles are being lighted, this canticle or another hymn is sung:
The Lord will come with mighty power,
and give light to the eyes of all who serve him, alleluia.
The priest greets the people in these or similar words:
Forty days ago we celebrated the joyful feast of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we recall the holy day on which he was presented in the temple, fulfilling the law of Moses and at the same time, going to meet his faithful people. Led by the Spirit, Simeon and Anna came to the temple, recognized Christ as their Lord, and proclaimed him with joy.
United by the Spirit, may we now go to the house of God to welcome Christ the Lord. There we shall recognize him in the breaking of bread until he comes again in glory.
The priest blesses the candles:
Let  us  pray: God our Father, source of all light, today you revealed to Simeon your Light of revelation to the nations. Bless + these candles and make them holy. May we who carry them to praise your glory walk in the path of goodness and come to the light that shines for ever.
Glory to God..
The priest then takes the candle prepared for him, and the procession begins with the acclamation:
Let us go in peace to meet the Lord.
During the procession, the canticle of Simeon or another hymn is sung:
Antiphon: Christ is the light of the nations
and the glory of Israel his people.
Now, Lord, you have kept your word:
let your servant go in peace. (Ant.)
With my own eyes I have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people. (Ant.)
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.  (Ant.)
As the procession enters the church, the entrance chant of the Mass is sung. The celebrant intones the Gloria. Then the Mass continues as usual.
OPENING    PRAYER
Let us pray. All-powerful Father, Christ your Son became man for us  and was presented in the temple. May he free our hearts  from sin and bring us into your presence.
FIRST READING
(The Saviour of the world will come to his temple, to live among his people, to purify their hearts and, make them  dear to God.)
A Reading from the Book of Malachi             (3:1-4)
Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiners fire and like fullers soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
This is the word of the Lord
PSALM                                                            (Ps 23)
Response: Who is the king of glory?
It is the Lord.
1. O gates, lift up your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory!                                         R.
2. Who is the king of glory? The Lord, the mighty, the valiant, the Lord, the valiant in war.                                              R.
3. O gates, lift high your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory!                                         R.
4. Who is he, the king of glory? He, the Lord of armies, he is the king of glory.    R.
SECOND   READING
(Jesus assumed human nature so as to make us free for God and for one another.)
A Reading from the letter to the Hebrews                                        (2:14-18)
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,  and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to life - long bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
This is the word of the Lord
ACCLAMATION
Alleluia, alleluia! The light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel, your people. Alleluia!
GOSPEL
(Those who wait with faith for Gods coming will recognize him even in His humble and simple appearance.)
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke               (2:22-40)
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lords Christ.  And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.
And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him;  and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against  (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,  and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
This is the Gospel of the Lord
I believe in God
PRAYER   OF   THE   FAITHFUL
Cel: Let us pray to Christ who is the light of the world and the glory of us all.
Response: Lord, let your light shine on us.
1. For our Holy Father, John Paul II and for all who exercise authority in the Church that they may  imbibe the spirit of Christ in discharging their ministry of reconciling men and women  with God and with one another.                          R.
2. For all  fathers and mothers that by their own lives they may inspire their children to follow Christ as the light of their lives.                                               R.
3. For all Christians that the spirit of the Lord may guide them to be true to their conscience so as to avoid what is evil and to do what is right and just in the sight of the Lord.                                    R.
4   For all of us who are present here that we may live up to our baptismal promises  which will show to the world that we are Christians  by our life of fraternal love and communal harmony.                      R.
(Pray for personal / local needs.)
Cel: Lord Jesus Christ, without you we walk in darkness. May your light shine brightly on us that we may in our turn become your light to all who live around us. For you are true light of the Father now and for ever.
PRAYER   OVER   THE   GIFTS
Lord, accept the gifts your Church offers you with joy, since in fulfilment of your will your Son offered himself as a lamb without  blemish for the life of the world.
Preface                              (49)
COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
With my own eyes  I have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all the nations.
PRAYER   AFTER   COMMUNION
Lord, you fulfilled the hope of Simeon, who did not die until he had been  privileged  to welcome the Messiah. May this communion perfect your grace in us and prepare us to meet Christ when he comes to bring us into everlasting life, for he is Lord for ever and ever.

LITURGY AND LIFE

Today we have  the ceremony of the blessing of  candles and procession. The lighted  candle represents Christ. The procession symbolizes our journey  to the heavenly Jerusalem. Jesus said, I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (Jn 8:12). We must have always this light. This light will disperse the darkness of our mind. It will enlighten our mind. It will make us see things in their true reality.
Indeed this is the mystery which we celebrate today, that the light has come into the world and has given it light when it was shrouded in darkness, and that the day-spring has visited us from on high and given light to those who were sitting in darkness. That true light  which enlightens every man, promised and waited for centuries, has finally come. Let us all be enlightened and filled with this light. We want to share this light with others. We want to show people the way to salvation.
The candle symbolizes our life. It should be offered to God. It must be consumed entirely in the service of God and in the service of our neighbour. We must be strengthened, helped and spurred on in the imitation of Christ by the exemplary interior disposition of the persons whom we meet in  the Gospel of today: the silent and tender love of St Joseph, the strong and constant faith of old Simeon, the continual and prayerful fidelity of the aged prophetess Anna, but above all, by the absolute and complete availability of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the protagonist together with her Son, in the mystery of salvation.
Mary was certainly not a mere spectator in the events that took place at the presentation of our Lord in the temple. She was closely united with her Sons offering; she becomes for  us all an example of conscious and generous  self-giving, a close collaborator with the plan of God, a silent and efficacious presence with her Divine Son for the salvation of the world. Mary is a partner in the redemption brought by Jesus Christ. She calls upon us to adopt her interior attitude, to imitate her complete availability. She asks us never to give up, but to continue joyfully along the path we have taken. 
   PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
Today we celebrate the close of the Christmas festival of light. Candles are blessed and we carry them in procession to welcome Christ, the light of the nations.
BLESSING   OF   CANDLES  AND PROCESSION
The people gather in a chapel or other suitable place outside the church where the Mass will be celebrated. They carry unlighted candles. While the candles are being lighted, this canticle or another hymn is sung:
The Lord will come with mighty power,
and give light to the eyes of all who serve him, alleluia.
The priest greets the people in these or similar words:
Forty days ago we celebrated the joyful feast of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we recall the holy day on which he was presented in the temple, fulfilling the law of Moses and at the same time, going to meet his faithful people. Led by the Spirit, Simeon and Anna came to the temple, recognized Christ as their Lord, and proclaimed him with joy.
United by the Spirit, may we now go to the house of God to welcome Christ the Lord. There we shall recognize him in the breaking of bread until he comes again in glory.
The priest blesses the candles:
Let  us  pray: God our Father, source of all light, today you revealed to Simeon your Light of revelation to the nations. Bless + these candles and make them holy. May we who carry them to praise your glory walk in the path of goodness and come to the light that shines for ever.
Glory to God..
The priest then takes the candle prepared for him, and the procession begins with the acclamation:
Let us go in peace to meet the Lord.
During the procession, the canticle of Simeon or another hymn is sung:
Antiphon: Christ is the light of the nations
and the glory of Israel his people.
Now, Lord, you have kept your word:
let your servant go in peace. (Ant.)
With my own eyes I have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people. (Ant.)
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.  (Ant.)
As the procession enters the church, the entrance chant of the Mass is sung. The celebrant intones the Gloria. Then the Mass continues as usual.
OPENING    PRAYER
Let us pray. All-powerful Father, Christ your Son became man for us  and was presented in the temple. May he free our hearts  from sin and bring us into your presence.
FIRST READING
(The Saviour of the world will come to his temple, to live among his people, to purify their hearts and, make them  dear to God.)
A Reading from the Book of Malachi             (3:1-4)
Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiners fire and like fullers soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
This is the word of the Lord
PSALM                                                            (Ps 23)
Response: Who is the king of glory?
It is the Lord.
1. O gates, lift up your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory!                                         R.
2. Who is the king of glory? The Lord, the mighty, the valiant, the Lord, the valiant in war.                                              R.
3. O gates, lift high your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory!                                         R.
4. Who is he, the king of glory? He, the Lord of armies, he is the king of glory.    R.
SECOND   READING
(Jesus assumed human nature so as to make us free for God and for one another.)
A Reading from the letter to the Hebrews                                        (2:14-18)
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,  and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to life - long bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
This is the word of the Lord
ACCLAMATION
Alleluia, alleluia! The light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel, your people. Alleluia!
GOSPEL
(Those who wait with faith for Gods coming will recognize him even in His humble and simple appearance.)
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Luke               (2:22-40)
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lords Christ.  And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.
And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him;  and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against  (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,  and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.  And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
This is the Gospel of the Lord
I believe in God
PRAYER   OF   THE   FAITHFUL
Cel: Let us pray to Christ who is the light of the world and the glory of us all.
Response: Lord, let your light shine on us.
1. For our Holy Father, John Paul II and for all who exercise authority in the Church that they may  imbibe the spirit of Christ in discharging their ministry of reconciling men and women  with God and with one another.                          R.
2. For all  fathers and mothers that by their own lives they may inspire their children to follow Christ as the light of their lives.                                               R.
3. For all Christians that the spirit of the Lord may guide them to be true to their conscience so as to avoid what is evil and to do what is right and just in the sight of the Lord.                                    R.
4   For all of us who are present here that we may live up to our baptismal promises  which will show to the world that we are Christians  by our life of fraternal love and communal harmony.                      R.
(Pray for personal / local needs.)
Cel: Lord Jesus Christ, without you we walk in darkness. May your light shine brightly on us that we may in our turn become your light to all who live around us. For you are true light of the Father now and for ever.
PRAYER   OVER   THE   GIFTS
Lord, accept the gifts your Church offers you with joy, since in fulfilment of your will your Son offered himself as a lamb without  blemish for the life of the world.
Preface                              (49)
COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
With my own eyes  I have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all the nations.
PRAYER   AFTER   COMMUNION
Lord, you fulfilled the hope of Simeon, who did not die until he had been  privileged  to welcome the Messiah. May this communion perfect your grace in us and prepare us to meet Christ when he comes to bring us into everlasting life, for he is Lord for ever and ever.

LITURGY AND LIFE

Today we have  the ceremony of the blessing of  candles and procession. The lighted  candle represents Christ. The procession symbolizes our journey  to the heavenly Jerusalem. Jesus said, I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (Jn 8:12). We must have always this light. This light will disperse the darkness of our mind. It will enlighten our mind. It will make us see things in their true reality.
Indeed this is the mystery which we celebrate today, that the light has come into the world and has given it light when it was shrouded in darkness, and that the day-spring has visited us from on high and given light to those who were sitting in darkness. That true light  which enlightens every man, promised and waited for centuries, has finally come. Let us all be enlightened and filled with this light. We want to share this light with others. We want to show people the way to salvation.
The candle symbolizes our life. It should be offered to God. It must be consumed entirely in the service of God and in the service of our neighbour. We must be strengthened, helped and spurred on in the imitation of Christ by the exemplary interior disposition of the persons whom we meet in  the Gospel of today: the silent and tender love of St Joseph, the strong and constant faith of old Simeon, the continual and prayerful fidelity of the aged prophetess Anna, but above all, by the absolute and complete availability of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the protagonist together with her Son, in the mystery of salvation.
Mary was certainly not a mere spectator in the events that took place at the presentation of our Lord in the temple. She was closely united with her Sons offering; she becomes for  us all an example of conscious and generous  self-giving, a close collaborator with the plan of God, a silent and efficacious presence with her Divine Son for the salvation of the world. Mary is a partner in the redemption brought by Jesus Christ. She calls upon us to adopt her interior attitude, to imitate her complete availability. She asks us never to give up, but to continue joyfully along the path we have taken.
 

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