Late Advent Weekday — December 17
Genesis 49:2,8-10 + Matthew 1:1-17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
It’s obvious that today’s date—December 17th—begins the final week of Advent. One week from today the Church will stand at the threshold of Christmastide. What’s not so obvious is that the Church approaches this final week of Advent differently than the season’s first few weeks. Beginning on December 17th, the Gospel Readings at weekday Mass shift from scenes set during Jesus’ adulthood to scenes set before His birth.
Today’s Gospel Reading is the first seventeen verses of St. Matthew’s Gospel account. The very first verse tells us what this passage is all about: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This genealogy of Jesus is different than the one recorded by St. Luke the Evangelist in Luke 3:23-38. St. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ genealogy goes back in history only to Abraham, while St. Luke’s traces Jesus’ lineage back to Adam himself.
Nonetheless, the figures of David and Abraham help us understand the structure of the genealogy that St. Matthew records. Today consider just the latter of these two persons. The genealogy has three parts. Abraham and Jesus stand at either end, revealing the most important truth of this genealogical record: that Jesus fulfills what Abraham, “our father in faith”, could only foreshadow. The shadows of the Old Testament are now giving way to the light of Him who soon will be born.