CHRISTMAS NOVENA (Dec. 17-25)
Dec. 17: Gospel of the Day, Commentary and Prayer.
St. Leo the Great, The Genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Dear brethren in Christ, as preparation for Christmas, below you have the Gospel of the day, commentary by St. Leo the Great for meditation, and the corresponding Antiphon and Opening prayer of the Mass.
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Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, Catholics striving for Holiness.
- Antiphon and Gospel for Dec. 17
- Divine office Reading on the Genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Video commentary on today’s Gospel
Rejoice, O heavens, and exult, O earth, for our Lord will come to show mercy to his poor.
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 Christ.
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 Christ, fourteen generations.
The Navarre Bible Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew explains:
“1 This verse is a kind of title to St Matthew’s entire Gospel. The promises God made to Abraham for the salvation of mankind (Gen 12:3) are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as is Nathan’s prophecy to King David of an everlasting kingdom (2 Sam 7:12-16).
- The genealogy presented here by St Matthew shows Jesus’ human ancestry and also indicates that salvation history has reached its climax with the birth of the Son of God through the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is the expected Messiah.
- The genealogy is presented in a framework of three series, each consisting of fourteen links which show the progressive development of salvation history.
- For the Jews (and for other Eastern peoples of nomadic origin) genealogical trees were of great importance because a person’s identity was especially linked to family and tribe, with place of birth taking secondary importance. In the case of the Jewish people there was the added religious significance of belonging by blood to the chosen people.
- In Christ’s time each family still kept a careful record of its genealogical tree, since because of it people acquired rights and duties.
6 Four women are named in these genealogies — Tamar (cf. Gen 38; 1 Chron 2:4), Rahab (cf. Josh 2:6,17), Bathsheba (cf. 2 Sam 11:12, 24) and Ruth (cf. Book of Ruth). These four foreign women, who in one way or another are brought into the history of Israel, are one sign among many others of God’s design to save all men.
- By mentioning sinful people, God’s ways are shown to be different from man’s.
- God will sometimes carry out his plan of salvation by means of people whose conduct has not been just.
- God saves us, sanctifies us and chooses us to do good despite our sins and infidelities — and he chose to leave evidence of this at various stages in the history of our salvation.
11 The deportation to Babylon, described in 2 Kings 24-25, fulfilled the prophets’ warning to the people of Israel and their kings that they would be punished for their infidelity to the commandments of the Law of God, especially the first commandment.
16 Jewish genealogies followed the male line.
- Joseph, being Mary’s husband, was the legal father of Jesus.
- The legal father is on a par with the real father as regards rights and duties. This fact provides a sound basis for recognizing St Joseph as Patron of the whole Church, since he was chosen to play a very special role in God’s plan for our salvation: with St Joseph as his legal father, Jesus the Messiah has David as his ancestor.
- Since it was quite usual for people to marry within their clan, it can be concluded that Mary belonged to the house of David.
- Several early Fathers of the Church testify to this — for example, St Ignatius of Antioch, St Irenaeus, St Justin and Tertullian, who base their testimony on an unbroken oral tradition.
- It should also be pointed out that when St Matthew comes to speak of the birth of Jesus, he uses an expression which is completely different from that used for the other people in the genealogy. With these words the text positively teaches that Mary conceived Jesus while still a virgin, without the intervention of man.”
FOR THE DEC. 17 MASS PRAYERS AND READINGS, CLICK HERE
A letter of Pope St Leo the Great
The mystery of our reconciliation with God
To speak of our Lord, the son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as true and perfect man is of no value to us if we do not believe that he is descended from the line of ancestors set out in the Gospel.
Matthew’s gospel begins by setting out the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, and then traces his human descent by bringing his ancestral line down to his mother’s husband, Joseph. On the other hand, Luke traces his parentage backward step by step to the actual father of mankind, to show that both the first and the last Adam share the same nature.
No doubt the Son of God in his omnipotence could have taught and sanctified men by appearing to them in a semblance of human form as he did to the patriarchs and prophets, when for instance he engaged in a wrestling contest or entered into conversation with them, or when he accepted their hospitality and even ate the food they set before him. But these appearances were only types, signs that mysteriously foretold the coming of one who would take a true human nature from the stock of the patriarchs who had gone before him. No mere figure, then, fulfilled the mystery of our reconciliation with God, ordained from all eternity.
The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the Virgin nor had the power of the MostHigh overshadowed her, so that within her spotless womb Wisdom might build itself a house and the Word become flesh. The divine nature and the nature of a servant were to be united in one person so that the Creator of time might be born in time, and he through whom all things were made might be brought forth in their midst.
For unless the new man, by being made in the likeness of sinful flesh, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stooped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the dominion of Satan. The Conqueror’s victory would have profited us nothing if the battle had been fought outside our human condition. But through this wonderful blending the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth we too might be born again in a spiritual birth; and in consequence the evangelist declares the faithful to have been born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature, who willed that your Word should take flesh in an ever-virgin womb, look with favor on our prayers, that your Only Begotten Son, having taken to himself our humanity, may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
4. VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
IN TODAY’S GOSPEL (MATTHEW 1:1-17), MATTHEW’ BOOK BEGINS WITH THE WORDS, “THE BOOK OF THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF DAVID, THE SON OF ABRAHAM.” Being the Messiah, Jesus will be the King in the line of David. And He is a descendant of Abraham whom God says, “and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing” (Genesis 22:18). Throughout the genealogy of Jesus, sinners abound.
AUDIO CREDIT: Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
PHOTO CREDIT AND SOURCE: Adoration of the Kings by Giuseppe Chiari (1564-1727), in http://i2.wp.com/www.catholichousehold.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/4.-Adoration-of-the-Kings-Chiari-1.jpg?resize=750%2C1120
CHRISTMAS NOVENA 1. Dec. 17 in https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.org/christmas-novena-2-dec-18-god-showed-his-love-through-his-son/
CHRISTMAS NOVENA 2. Dec. 18 in https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.org/christmas-novena-2-dec-18-god-showed-his-love-through-his-son/
CHRISTMAS NOVENA 3. Dec. 19 in https://catholicsstrivingforholiness.org/christmas-novena-3-dec-19-gods-redeeming-incarnation-av-summary-053-s-text/
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CHRISTMAS NOVENA 5.Dec. 21 in
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CHRISTMAS NOVENA 7. Dec. 23 in