Advent 2014

Third Wednesday in Advent - December 17th

Gn 49: 2, 8-10 / Ps 72: 3-4, 7-8, 17 / Mt 1: 1-17

“Where you from?” is a grammatically incorrect shibboleth that attempts to build a bridge. An American in an alien place asks this question, hoping the response will be one of the fifty states (and one with which there is familiarity). This answer is good enough to build a bond and make friends of two people who otherwise would have no common connection. We look for the things that unite us rather than the ones that divide us.

At the time of Jesus it was more “Who you from?” The common bond was tribal; it was a shared experience of blood. In the genealogy of Jesus it is more; it is the familiarity of faith and faithlessness, of success and failure. When the Psalmist writes, “In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed, all the nations shall proclaim his happiness,” the Psalmist reminds us that the Messiah is one of us.  We cheer for him, we celebrate him, we anticipate him because he is from our state (of grace); he comes from sinners and saints, he comes from heroes and scoundrels, he comes from and for people like you and me.

In the first reading today, Jacob (aka Israel) is imparting his deathbed blessing. The small section we have here is for the sons of Judah who will become the kings from David until the end of monarchy and beyond; these names make up the list that Matthew has pieced together. As the readers of Matthew's Gospel come to learn, the list of ancestors is like a resume that lists not only our accomplishments but our failures as well. It is a list that talks about our pedigree both purebred and mutt. As we prepare to welcome our Savior in eight-days-time, we already know the answer to the question, “Where you from?” We have a bond with this baby.

Rev. Paul Galetto, OSA
Office for Undergraduate Students