O Wisdom of Our God Most High
December 17th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
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,
Today’s Gospel is known as being mundane and difficult to read, listing the genealogy of Jesus Christ starting from the time of Abraham. It can be tempting to skim through this passage and move on to the actual story of Christ’s birth, but this genealogy serves a very important purpose.
Today marks the first day of the ancient “O Antiphons.” Written no later than the 8th century A.D., the “O Antiphons” are beautiful verses chanted during Evening Prayer — or Vespers — each day from December 17-23. Today’s antiphon, which is also the Alleluia verse at Mass, is as follows:
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
At last we see the great significance of today’s Gospel passage. In His infinite wisdom, God’s timing is always perfect, and the Incarnation is no exception to this. As St. Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Galatians, God sent His Son “when the fulness [sic] of the time was come” (Gal 4:4a DRB). God possesses infinite wisdom, power, and love, which He uses to guide all of Creation to Himself.
God’s timing is often not our timing, and all of us have found ourselves rebelling against His timing throughout our lives. When we pray, we often pray with the expectation that God will answer our prayers on our terms, the way we want them to be answered. When God does not do so exactly as we would like, we become hurt and sometimes even angry with Him. Some people abandon prayer completely after such experiences.
However, today’s Gospel and antiphon remind us that God is infinitely wise, knowing exactly what is best for both our physical needs and our spiritual well-being. As we begin the fourth and final week of Advent, may we strive to increase our trust in the wisdom of our God Most High, Who knows all our needs and cares for us always.