Today’s readings Mass for the school children.
Did you hear that? That was quite a list of names, wasn’t it? It always strikes me that this list of characters, which is basically the human family tree of our Lord, is so much like any of our families’ history. This is a list of forty-two generations of the nation of the people of Israel led by people of greatness, and, well, people of something else. Some of them were heroic like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah and to some extent David and Solomon. But some of them were pretty wicked, especially Manasseh, whose wickedness in shedding innocent blood made God so angry that he allowed the Israelites to be taken into captivity by the Babylonians during the reign of king Jeconiah. So we have forty-two generations of people, some of whom were saints and some who were sinners, great men and flawed men, all leading up to the Incarnation of Christ, who was the only way to end the cycle of sin that spiraled all through the story.
We’re just about to start the last week of Advent, and today we begin the more intense period of Advent that extends from December 17th through the morning of Christmas Eve. During this time, the Church’s Liturgy makes us yearn all the more longingly for the birth of Jesus and his presence in our lives. Just as forty-two generations of a mix of wisdom and foolishness could only be fixed by the presence of Christ, so the foolishness of our time calls for Jesus too.
During these last days of Advent, we pray the “O Antiphons.” We hear those antiphons famously in the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The verses are also used during Evening Prayer. Today’s is “O Wisdom,” and the verse from “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is, “O come, O Wisdom from on high, and cheer us by your drawing nigh. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadow put to flight…” We trust God to come near, to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, to satisfy our longing for wisdom, to make sense of all the craziness in the world, with the loving presence of Jesus.
And so we pray: Come, Lord Jesus and bring us peace. Come, Lord Jesus and put an end to the world’s foolishness. Come, Lord Jesus and bring us your Wisdom. We need you! Come quickly and do not delay.