daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, December 17, 2011
Gen. 49:2, 8-10, Ps. 71, Matt. 1:1-17

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Gen. 49:10).

This messianic prophecy is part of Jacob's blessing of his sons before his death. He prophesies that Judah will have a position of preeminence among his brothers. Although this was fulfilled in David, who was a son of Judah-of the tribe of Judah-it was fulfilled in a far more spectacular and complete way in Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of the promise, who was to come at the end of days to save his people. Truly "to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Gen. 49:10) in a much fuller and more complete way.

In his days there will be great prosperity and blessings on earth. This time of blessing is indicated in the next verses of this prophecy: "Binding his foal to the vine and his ass's colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes" (Gen. 49:11). He is not afraid of tying his donkey to a choice vine, because even if the donkey should eat the grapes, this would cause no harm, for there will be such a great abundance of fruit in those days; and he can even wash his clothes in precious wine, because of its abundance. Moreover, "his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk" (Gen. 49:12), so great will be the abundance of both wine and milk. "And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water" (Joel 3:18). We now live in those days of fulfillment, yet we still long for their full consummation in glory and light at the Parousia.

We have all this in Jesus Christ. He gives us a rich, heady wine to drink and become inebriated with, and he gives us rich, substantial bread to eat, his blood and his flesh, containing his divine life for the nourishment of our spirit and for our transformation and divinization, making us radiant with God's life in us. He inebriates us with his blood in the form of wine, containing his divinity, his divine person, which enters into us when we drink it in Holy Communion, and he unites us to himself, bringing us his blessings.

We now live in the messianic days, the days of the fulfillment of prophecy. We are in Christ, and he is great unto the ends of the earth, and in him is our peace, because he is the peace (Mic. 5:4-5). He brings us the righteousness of God which justifies us, making us righteous and resplendent. Indeed righteousness shall flourish in his days "and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth" (Ps. 71:7 KJV). "His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun" (Ps. 71:17 KJV).

There will be such an abundance of wine and milk in his days that "his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk" (Gen. 49:12). Even though we now live in this abundance in the realm of grace in Jesus Christ, we still long for him to consummate all this when he comes on the clouds of heaven in glory and great light. It is for this coming that we hope and prepare ourselves during Advent. We also prepare ourselves for his coming in grace at Christmas to renew us with his heavenly peace and the abundance of his splendor and light.


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