24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight
In many Western Christian traditions Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, traditionally beginning at midnight when Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day. This popular Christmas custom is a jubilant celebration of the Mass in honour of the Nativity of Jesus, even many of those Christian denominations that do not regularly employ the word “Mass” uniquely use the term “Midnight Mass” for their Christmas Eve liturgy.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on these words and explained in his Summa Theologiae, “And from this the Mass derives its name … the deacon on festival days ‘dismisses’ the people at the end of the Mass, by saying: ‘Ite, missa est,’ that is, the victim [Jesus] has been sent to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God.”
All the Holy Ancestors of Christ – A commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament has preserved two different genealogies of Our Lord, in Matthew 1; and Luke 3.
Saint Matthew’s list is divided artificially into three equal parts of 14 names each, with several intentional omissions: from Abraham the father of the chosen people to David the king, to whose family the promise was made (2 Kings 7); David and the royal line after him to the Babylonian captivity; the descendants of the royal line from the captivity to Joseph, the legal father of Our Lord.
Saint Luke proceeds in reverse order; he starts from Joseph and goes, beyond Abraham, back to Adam the father of the human race, in accord with the character of his Gospel; and he merely enumerates the names without grouping them according to a thesis or point, as is the case in Saint Matthew.
Few names are common to both lists: viz., those between Abraham and David, then Salathiel and Zorobabel after the captivity, and Joseph the foster-father of Christ; the others are absent from Matthew’s list, or the persons are different. To account for these differences several explanations have been advanced, but no decisive evidence is extant. Not a few authors hold that Saint Luke gives Mary’s genealogy; but this view is more generally considered improbable, so that both lists are taken as giving Joseph’s ancestry. Only it must be supposed that at several points, instead of the actual descent, the one or the other of the lists gives the legal relationship based on adoption in some manner. Our Lord was considered to belong to the family of David; this seems to be taken for granted in the New Testament, where we find no difficulty raised against Him on the ground of His descent. The genealogies show His relationship to the royal family of Juda through Joseph, as it was only through the father, legal or natural, that the rights could be transmitted, and Joseph was the legal father of Jesus. To trace Our Lord’s ancestry through His mother would not have served the purpose of the Evangelists.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
St Adam the Patriarch
St Adela of Pfalzel
Bl Alberic of Gladbach
Bl Brocard of Strasbourg
St Bruno of Ottobeuren
St Caran of Scotland
St Delphinus of Bordeaux
St Emiliana and St Trasilla (died sixth Century)
St Euthymius of Nicomedia
St Eve the Matriarch
Bl Francesco dei Maleficii
St Gregory of Spoleto
St Hanno of Worms OSB (Died 978) Bishop
Bl Ignacio Caselles García
St Irmina of Oehren
St Mochua of Timahoe
Bl Pablo Meléndez Gonzalo
St Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865)
Bl Peter de Solanes
Bl Venerandus of Clermont
• Blessed Dionysius Roneo
• Blessed Philip Claro
• Blessed Giulio Pons
• Blessed Peter of Valladolid
Blessed Mercedarian Sisters – (6 beati): Six cloistered Mercedarian nuns at the convent of Vera Cruz in Berriz, Spain. Noted for their devotion to the rules of the Order and for their deep prayer lives.
• Blessed Anna Maria Prieto
• Blessed Anna de Arrano
• Blessed Orsola de Larisgoizia
• Blessed Maguna Mary
• Blessed Margaret
• Blessed Mary of the Assumption Sarria
Martyred Maidens of Antioch – (40 saints): A group of forty virgins martyred in the persecutions of Decius. None of their names have come down to us. They were martyred in 250 in Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Tripoli – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details that have surived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.