Hail, Holy Mother, who gave birth to the King who rules heaven and earth for ever.
O God, who give us the joy of honouring Our Lady, Queen of Nigeria, as mother of divine hope and communion; grant that, with the help of her intercession we may always work for peace and reconciliation in this world and come to share the fullness of your grace. Through our Lord. .
“With righteousness he will judge the poor.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 11: 1-10)
On that day: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 72:1-2.7-8.12-13.17 (R. 7)
R/. In his days shall justice flourish, And great peace forever.
O God, give your judgement to the king,
To a king’s son your justice,
That he may judge your people in justice,
And your poor in right judgement. R.
In his days shall justice flourish,
And great peace till the moon is no more.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
From the River to the bounds of the earth. R.
For he shall save the needy when they cry,
The poor, and those who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak and the needy,
And save the lives of the needy. R.
May his name endure forever,
His name continue like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blest in him,
All nations shall call him blessed. R.
He is our peace, bring hostility to an end in his flesh.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 2:13-22)
Brethren: Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Cf. Luke 1:28
Alleluia. Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; Let it be to me according to your word. Alleluia.
“Take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 2 : 13-15. 10-23)
When the Wise Men had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Two strings tie all the three readings together as we observe a double celebration today. Firstly, the readings tell us about liberation and secondly, talk about peace. On the other hand, while we celebrate our National Independence Day, we also celebrate the dedication of our country to Mary our mother that she becomes the patroness of our beloved nation, Our Lady Queen of Nigeria. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of a blessed and perfect state of being where every being under the earth is at peace with each other. St Paul says that, such a perfect peace rests on the shoulders of Jesus Christ whom by his blood we are all freed from the bondage and hostility in this world. Indeed the words of scripture are fulfilled that we have been called out of the darkness of Egypt. What is our Egypt we may ask? Our Egypt are those times of sin, when we refuse to come out from sin, from that evil inclination we are absorbed in. we are charged to come out from sin and darkness, bribery and corruption, tribalism, ethnicity and all vices that keeps us in darkness and bondage. By the Blood of Christ we are liberated from sin, and connect with the blessed peace promised to us in Isaiah. In all, our Lady Queen of Nigeria will continue to intercede for our nation; just as she requested from our Lord extra wine at the wedding feast as Cana, the same hand of affection/kindness shall be extended to our nation. As she pondered all the troubled moments of her son’s life in her heart without condemnation, so too will her maternal love continue to be with our nation. Perfect peace and liberation shall follow and we shall be truly independent from all vices but truly dependent on the grace of God.