December 17, 2014
Timothy Lannon, S.J.
President of Creighton University
click here for photo and information about the writer


Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 193

Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8, 17
Matthew 1:1-17

Praying Advent

Today's Daily Advent Prayer

When I preside at Mass, I always dread proclaiming this Gospel passage by Matthew.  Perhaps like other presiders, deacons and lectors, there is an opportunity for a few slip ups with the pronunciation of unusual names and places.  Despite the challenging pronunciations, Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus is masterful.  Matthew shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Scriptures by demonstrating the continuity from Abraham to Jesus.  However, Matthew does more than that, he shows there is a shift in that continuity symbolized by the four women named in the genealogy and culminating with the naming of Jesus’ mother,  Mary.  Jesus ends the era of the old and begins the new era, since He is the Messiah.

Matthew’s genealogy demonstrates the human lineage of Jesus.  What I find fascinating is that Jesus’ relatives were good people and others were sinful people.  Take for example:  “David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.” That is adultery!  The origin of Jesus which is divine and human, came through some shocking human events.   Now, I am not sure about you, but I find it consoling that there were people more sinful than most in Jesus’ family tree.   So the reality in Jesus’ family background is not perfect and yet Jesus is the source of redemption, love, and hope. 

Christmas is a time for hope.  Despite the realities in our lives that may include a personal illness or the illness of a loved one, a lost job or a ruptured relationship, because of Jesus, there is always hope. All of us have had or will have curve balls in our lives.   Last year on Thanksgiving Day, while presiding at Mass at St. John’s Church on the Creighton campus, I became very ill due to a cardiac event.  I had to leave the altar and was rushed to the Emergency Room at the Creighton University Medical Center.  After being assessed, and quite quickly I might add, I was told that I could die.  I had never missed a day of work in my life and now suddenly I am facing death.  While trying to make sense of what was happening to me, I recall praying and saying to God, if you want me I am ready, if you don’t, I know that you will provide for me.  I placed my hope and trust in God regardless of whether I lived or died.

So despite the challenges that we face in life, from pronouncing words incorrectly to life threatening situations, there is one constant in our lives, Jesus Christ.  He came to save us.  What more could we hope?

This is Fr. Lannon's last reflection for our Online Ministries Daily Reflection site.
He is stepping down as President of Creighton, January 21st.

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