17 Dec Genesis 49:9 (Lion of Judah)
“He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts–who would dare rouse Him?” Genesis 49:9 (full readings)
Steve’s Reflections: Jacob’s prophetic words on his death bed paint a powerful image – the Lion of Judah. Jacob is speaking directly to his 12 sons who would father the 12 Tribes of Israel. Specifically, he is speaking to Judah. In one of my favorite Old Testament stories, Jacob wrestles with an angel, and the angel of the Lord renamed him, Israel or “God rules”. His sons would father the 12 tribes of Israel. Why is this important? Out of the Tribe of Judah would come David, King David and the messianic Davidic line. Isaiah prophesied that the messiah would spring up from the Root of Jesse – Jesse was David’s father. The Bible is full of these prophesies that are fulfilled in Jesus’ coming. We have become a people who are ignorant of Scripture even though we have more access today to the bible than at any point in history. The bible was written by Jews for Jews and they knew their Scripture. The fact that Jesus fulfilled this very important prophesy of Isaiah was not lost on them. It is why today’s Gospel, Matthew 1: 1-17, spells out meticulously the lineage of Jesus. It was important! It was so important that it was the first thing the Gospel of Matthew speaks about. I love the image of Jesus as the “Lion of Judah” because that same lion would become the silent lamb that was slaughtered for our sakes. Let us not “declaw” the Lion of Judah by being ignorant of Scripture. To know the Bible is to know Jesus. St. Jerome – the father of our modern Bible – single handily translated the Bible for all. He said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Faith Challenge: Don’t be ignorant of Christ – Dust off your Bible today and read the Christmas story. Call your church and see if there is a Bible study available. I highly recommend anything by Jeff Cavins (The Great Adventure: Bible Timeline).
Sr. Francelle’s Devotion: Christmas “Read something each day that will help you to love the Lord better – even if it’s only a page. Don’t think you’ll wait until you grow old and then do it. Your eyes may fail you or your mind – it’s too late then.”
Feast Day: St. Lazarus “Many people who have had a near-death experience report losing all fear of death. When Lazarus died a second time, perhaps he was without fear. He must have been sure that Jesus, the friend with whom he had shared many meals and conversations, would be waiting to raise him again.”
* Pray/Fast: Prayer connects us with God’s will & His miracles, changing us & helping others. Fast from things that take your eyes off Jesus. Those who pray together stay together, and close to God!
* Save Unborn (& family): Abortion reality (images)…#1 death cause (23% pregnancies). Prov 24:11 & Jer 1:5. “A great poverty that a child must die that you might live as you wish.” Mother Teresa
* Evangelize:Make room for unbelievers & re-evangelization of self, by way of prayer (relationship) and following Christ’s example of love (service/sacrifice/mercy). Matt 28:19.