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Thursday, December 17, 2015

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Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17
Matthew 1:1-17

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from mess to blessed

"Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar." —Matthew 1:3

Today begins the grand finale of Advent, a mini-Advent to especially prepare for the Christmas coming of Jesus Christ. For many people, life during this week is chaotic and jumbled. They hurry to buy, wrap, and ship gifts, attend holiday parties, and conclude Christmas preparations. Therefore, the Church this week celebrates a mini-Advent in the final eight days of Advent to call us to focus on preparing for Jesus. This mini-Advent starts every December 17th by reading the genealogy of Jesus. His genealogy shows that God uses even the messes made by human sin to complete His will.

For example, Jesus descended from the line of Judah, a kingly tribe (see Gn 49:8-10) from which kings David and Solomon descended. Yet Judah was no saint. He fathered twin sons Perez and Zerah (Gn 38:29ff) by sinfully consorting with a prostitute, who turned out to be his daughter-in-law Tamar. At the time, Judah didn't recognize her. He had been dealing unjustly with Tamar, withholding her legal right of marrying his remaining son after she had been widowed from his other two sons (see Gn 38:11ff). Even soap operas don't concoct a plot as twisted as that of Judah and Tamar. Yet Judah is held up as ruler among the twelve sons of Israel! (Gn 49:10)

Advent proclaims that there is no mess too complicated for God to transform and use to accomplish His will. Is your life a mess? Give the Lord the messes in your life. He can use them in ways greater than you could ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20).

Prayer:  Father, give me the grace to believe that "nothing is impossible with" You (Lk 1:37; see also Mt 19:26).

Promise:  "He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor, and crush the oppressor." —Ps 72:4

Praise:  "O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, You govern all creation with Your strong yet tender care."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015

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