Today, the Church begins the Christmas Novena. It is a special time within a special time, as is Advent. All these days are marked by the joyful expectation of the birth of Our Lord Jesus. It is advisable to prepare a little crib (if possible) or place the images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the Baby Jesus in our homes in order to aid our expectation for the birth of the Saviour. In these nine days, the Church exhorts us to focus more on the Lord, looking at the attitudes of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph and learning how to live according to the Father’s will from them. Dear friends, I now invite you to journey with me through these nine days in preparation for the Nativity of Christ. May these days of preparation for the birth of the Son of God in the flesh also help us to prepare our hearts for Him to be reborn in each one of us. – (Fr. Chinaka, OSJ)
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Fr. Chinaka: Our help is in the name of the Lord
Participants: who made heaven and earth
Fr. Chinaka: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Participants: As it was, in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
God of infinite goodness, who loved us so much and who gave us in your Son the best offer of your love, so that, incarnated and made our brother in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, we would be adopted as sons and daughters of God. We give you thanks for such an immense benefit, and we offer you back, Lord, the sincere effort to make this your world and ours, a fairer world, more faithful to the great commandment to love one another as brothers and sisters. Grant us, Lord, your help to be able to accomplish it. We ask that this Christmas, a feast of peace and joy, be a stimulus for our community so that, living as brothers and sisters, we seek more and more the paths of truth, justice, love, and peace. (You may add your private petitions here) Amen.
SCRIPTURAL READING/MEDITATION: Matthew 21: 28-32
At that time, Jesus said to them: What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
The Gospel of the Lord
POINTS FOR MEDITATION
Go deeper into today’s gospel text, and contemplate the meaning of the parable of the two sons and its application in our lives in this Advent season. See through the gospel text and see yourself not as a spectator, but as a participant in the scene. Have a personal and direct relationship with the characters, and sincerely imagine where you belong between the two brothers.
PRAYER TO THE PREGNANT VIRGIN & SAINT JOSEPH
Oh Virgin Mother, we are beginning to prepare for your Son’s Nativity. We want to be with you to accompany you in these last days of your pregnancy. To share with you the joy that you feel in these moments, and thus learn from you how to correspond to the Lord, how to act according to his will, so that we may find joy, peace, and fulfillment in your Son, of the life that only He can give us. O Blessed Virgin and Mother, intercede for each one of us, ask your Son to help us live these days with the joy that you had in those moments of your Son’s birth. Amen.
Blessed Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and father of the Baby Jesus, you were chosen by the Almighty Father to be the Father and Guardian of His choicest Treasure, Christ our Redeemer, in the home of Nazareth. Help the fathers of families; may they always be in the home the image of the heavenly father, following your examples; may they fulfill the great responsibility of educating and forming their children, giving them, with a continuous effort, the best of themselves. Help children to understand and appreciate the unselfish efforts of their parents. Saint Joseph, husband, and father, intercede for us. Amen.
Pray 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and 1 Glory be, seeking the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, while at the same time, contemplating on their “YES” in the mystery of Salvation (cf. Luke 1:26-38 and Matthew 1:19-24)
LITANY OF THE INFANT JESUS
Divine Baby Jesus, Bless us
Our Judge, forgive us
Well of Kindness, Feed Our Faith
Our hope, Sustain us
Our Protector, Defend us
Source of Our life, Refresh us
Alpha and Omega, stay with us
Divine Baby Jesus, in you we trust
LET US PRAY: Lord Jesus Christ, as we begin this journey towards Your Nativity, we ask that You help us so that, by celebrating Your birth, each one of us can draw closer to You. May we renew ourselves in Your Word, may we be sincere and authentic with ourselves, may the Lord give us the grace to leave everything that separates us from You, and may we have the courage to recognize what is wrong and know how to take the step towards conversion, trusting and relying on your unfailing grace. Lord, pour into each of us Your grace and Your love so that we may know how to respond to Your love and come to You with a sincere heart. Lord, help us to return to You. It helps us to live what is essential, what gives us true happiness. Lord, make us live a Christmas full of Your presence and Your love. Amen
CONCRETE ATTITUDE (Christmas Challenge)
– Make gestures of charity and solidarity with a person or family in need, seeking that others also have a good Christmas.
Dear Baby Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, we long to see you, we are waiting for you, we are preparing for your Christmas, and we want this to be ours too. In this sense, today’s meditation presents us with the parable of the two sons, showing us what our attitude and our relationship with you should be. You show us that faith is not a matter of knowing things, but of living and doing what You ask of us. In these days before Christmas, help us to be sincere with ourselves, to know how to see and talk as a family, what is not right, what is dividing us, and what is wearing out love. Dear Baby Jesus, grant us the grace to know how to let go of what doesn’t make us happy and what hurts others. Help us that, in Your Christmas, we renew ourselves and know how to start over, that we have the courage to live what You ask of us, that we live the new life that You bring us and thus be able to celebrate a different Christmas, full of love and peace, of tenderness and joy like yours. Amen.
Fr. Chinaka: The Lord be with you
Participants: And with your Spirit
Through the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, may the Baby Jesus (Christ Our Lord) born in a stable at Bethlehem, bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Fr. Chinaka: Peace be with you
Participants: And with your Spirit
©Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?