Hymns for Mass – Press Here

FIRST READING (They shall invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.)
A reading from the Book of Numbers (6:22-27)

The Lord said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” —The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (67: 2-3, 5, 6, 8)
R. May God bless us in his mercy. (Ps 67:2a)

May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation. (R)

May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on earth you guide. (R)

May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him! (R)

SECOND READING (God sent his Son, born of a woman.)
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians (4:4-7)

Brothers and sisters: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God. —The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son. (R)

GOSPEL (They found Mary and Joseph and the infant. When the eight days were completed, he was named Jesus.)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (2:16-21)

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. —The Gospel of the Lord.

R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Numbers 6: 22-27
Gal. 4: 4-7
Luke 2: 16-21

“And Mary kept all of these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

I have a friend who – when trying to make sense of something difficult – will ask, “If an alien was to show up, what would it make of all of this?” My friend is usually trying to make sense of something he has seen on the news or internet, or something that occurred in his workplace. The point he is making with this question is that sometimes we need to step back and see things from the point of view of a disinterested and uninvolved observer.

Looking back over this last year, I often wonder myself what such a dispassionate observer would make of us as a people – think of them perusing our emails, texts, WhatsApp or WeChat messages, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts? Would that observer find evidence of a thoughtful people, a wise community, a people who desire peace?

Sadly, I don’t think so. While various social media platforms have allowed us to stay in touch despite a pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing, and while we have sued some of this time to share information and ideas, they have also allowed us to become more reactive than responsive, or more knee-jerk than thoughtful and kind.
And in the Blessing of Aaron found in our first reading today, we are reminded that God desires PEACE, the kind of peace that settles in the midst of a people in the form of wholeness and justice. All of us who profess faith in the Christ have an obligation to construct the kind of environment where the desire for peace would be obvious to anyone looking at us. The words we use to communicate with others and the groups we support provide an opportunity to give witness to our priorities. The question we face is whether or not we are willing to slow down enough to do as Mary did and reflect on God’s message in our hearts.
And so, our annual Octave of Christmas would not be complete without prayers giving special attention to the glorious Mother of God! Mary, the mother of Jesus, the mother of the Saviour of the world, is properly called the “Mother of God.” THEOTOKAS. Today we reflect on this special and powerful title of the Blessed Mother. And it is important to understand that this title says just as much about Jesus as it does about His Blessed Mother.

In calling Mary the “Mother of God,” we especially acknowledge one critical fact of human life. A mother is not just the source of one’s flesh, she is not just the mother of the body of her children, she is the mother of that PERSON. Being a mother is not just about something biological, it is something deeper: it is sacred and holy and is part of the divine order of God’s creation. Jesus was her Child and this Child is GOD. Therefore, it is right to acknowledge Mary as the “Mother of God.”

This is an amazing fact to ponder. God has a mother! He has a particular person who carried Him in her womb, who nursed Him, and raised Him, taught Him, loved Him, and pondered who He was throughout his life. This last fact is especially beautiful for us to remember each day.

Our Gospel passage today states, “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” She did this as a caring mother. Her love for Jesus was as unique as the love of any mother for a child. However, it should be remembered that she was a mother in perfection and loved Him with a perfect love, He who was not only her Son, but was also God and was perfect in every way.
What does this mean for us?

It tells us that the motherly love shared between Mary and Jesus was profound, inspiring, mysterious, glorious and truly sacred! The mystery of their love is worth reflecting on throughout each day of our lives, keeping it fully alive in our hearts. She is an example for every mother and is also an example for all of us who seek to love others with a pure and holy heart.

On this first day of the new year, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, and the World Day for Peace, may the mother of the Prince of Peace teach us by her patient example to be reflective before reacting, to ponder in our hearts before words pass our lips or appear on the screen in social media. Mary teaches us to conform our desires to those of God. Do my desires reflect the desire the desire of God for peace? Do my words and actions add to the well of peace from which we may all draw waters of grace and reconciliation?

Brothers and sisters, on this first day of the new year, may we take steps towards peace as part of our new years’ resolutions for the year ahead. May our words build up rather than tear down. May we identify obstacles to peace in such a way that we draw people to reconciliation. And may Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for us as we learn to imitate her virtue of pondering God in all things.


Celebrant: God of all blessings and goodness, on this New Year’s Eve we turn to you in humility and thanksgiving and offer to you our heartfelt prayers and petitions.

READER: For the Church, that she continue to guide and shepherd us through the Holy Father, our bishops and priests so that we can be truly God’s holy people, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.

READER: For all nations, that we can each become an instrument of God’s peace and justice especially to our own society in Hong Kong, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.

READER: For all the many ways you have showered blessings on us in this past year; Lord give us the humility to acknowledge you and accept our thanks in these prayers, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.

READER: For all the trials we have faced in this past year; Lord give us the strength and grace to overcome any obstacles and bear with deep faith whatever crosses that come our way, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.

READER: For the departed, especially George Edwards for whom today’s Mass is offered, and other loved ones and friends who passed away in this year now ending, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.

CELEBRANT: Heavenly Father and Creator, all good gifts come from you. On this eve of the New Year receive our prayers offered in conviction in the divine intercession of your Son, who lives and reigns, for ever and ever. (all) AMEN.

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