First Reading – Zec 2:14-17 or Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD. Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be His people, and He will dwell among you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. The LORD will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and He will again choose Jerusalem. Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! For He stirs forth from His holy dwelling.
God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of His Anointed.”
Responsorial Psalm – Judith 13:18BCDE, 19 (R. 15:9d)
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth. R.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God. R.
Gospel – Lk 1:26-38 or Lk 1:39-47
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
St. Spyridon (†c. 348). Bishop of Trimythous, present-day Tremetousia, in Cyprus. True pastor of the flock, his admirable deeds and example were proclaimed far and wide.
St. Israel de Dorat, priest (†1014). A highly cultured man, he was appointed Vicar General for the Bishop of Limoges, France, whom he helped extensively in the preaching of the Gospel.
St. Finian, abbot (†549). Founded several monasteries in Ireland, including Clonard Monastery, of which he was abbot and where he died.
St. Simon Phan Dac Hoa, martyr (†1840). Pagan orphan adopted by a Christian family in Vietnam. He became a renowned doctor, father of a large family and, above all, a fervent Christian. Imprisoned for having lodged missionaries, he was brutally tortured and finally beheaded.
Blessed James Capocci, bishop (†1308). Augustinian religious appointed Archbishop of Benevento and afterwards of Naples, Italy; Outstanding for his wisdom, prudence and theological knowledge.
Blessed Pius Bartosik, priest and martyr (†1941). Franciscan priest who died in Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland, after enduring tortures.
Blessed Bartolo Buonpedoni, priest (†1300). Afflicted with leprosy at 60 years of age, he withdrew to a segregation colony in Cellole, Italy, where he ministered to the sick confined there.
Blessed Conrad of Offida, priest (†1306). Franciscan religious who loved and practised to a high degree the humility and original poverty of the Order.