Jacob called his sons and said:
‘Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen;
listen to Israel your father.
Judah, your brothers shall praise you:
you grip your enemies by the neck,
your father’s sons shall do you homage,
Judah is a lion cub,
you climb back, my son, from your kill;
like a lion he crouches and lies down,
or a lioness: who dare rouse him?
The sceptre shall not pass from Judah,
nor the mace from between his feet,
until he come to whom it belongs,
to whom the peoples shall render obedience.’
A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram was the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,
Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,
Obed was the father of Jesse;
and Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Azariah,
Azariah was the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah;
and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.
Then the deportation to Babylon took place.
After the deportation to Babylon:
Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor was the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud was the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob;
and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;
of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.
…to whom the peoples shall render obedience.
Serving in my ministry over the past four years at the Catholic Spirituality Centre has given me many opportunities to witness various instances of how ‘obedience’ can manifest itself in many ways. Most times, we are called to trust in our leaders as well as the members of the executive counsel who run the place. At the end of the day, however, we all are called to trust in God and that whoever He sends us will lead in faith and be led by the Holy Spirit.
We, as ministry members, have been constantly urged to keep praying and to never allow our prayer life to wane. For it truly is prayer that drives us on, that keeps us united in His love and which lifts up all those who seek comfort in the love and support of our fellow brothers and sisters. Looking at my own ‘busy’ life, I have often been amazed at how we manage to attend practices, meetings and serve at retreats throughout the year. Indeed, it is only by His grace that He has allowed us all the privilege to serve and to be called to serve each time.
This is the week where I look back on the past year and prepare my ‘Dear friends’ letter to send to all my friends around the world. This year, I have a feeling that my letter will carry a tinge of sadness as we celebrate Christmas without dad for the very first time. However, in looking back, I am truly grateful to God my father, who journeyed with me this year and gave me the conviction to prepare for a more arduous road ahead in the coming year. I take comfort in how God paved the way for dad to be welcomed into His kingdom and all the angels that were sent our way. I know, deep down in my heart, that it would have been a very different experience for the family had I not answered His call, heeded it and trusted in Him these past four years. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
Brothers and sisters, whoever we answer to and serve at work, at home, in church or in whichever organization, we must always remember that in the end, as Christians, we answer only to one. The one who is going to come soon and to be reborn in our hearts. The one who gave up His only son so that we, His sons and daughters, could be saved and enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. Amid the preparations we have made for Christmas, let us not focus on the parties, presents and merrymaking. Instead, let us remember to leave room in our hearts for Joseph, Mary and Jesus as they come seeking shelter. And let us prepare to pay homage to our infant King, just as the wise men did centuries ago.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that you open our hearts this Advent, so that instead of getting carried away by the celebrations, you allow us some quiet time to reflect on the year gone by and to discern your hand in our lives.
Thanksgiving: We thank you Lord for the gift of your son Jesus and for the love you constantly shower upon us.