Catholic in Yanchep

The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)

First Sunday of Advent | The Virtuous Branch of the House of David

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Christ-the-Redeemer-Rio-de-Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer, Paul Landowski, Heitor da Silva Costa, Albert Caquot and Gheorghe Leonida, 1931, Corcovado Hill, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Most people are unaware of the sheer number of prophecies in the Old Testament which are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Taylor Marshall has compiled a list in his book, The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity, The Origins of Catholicism, Volume 1. Our first reading today includes one of these prophecies:

See, the days are coming — it is the Lord who speaks — when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.

In those days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:
The Lord-our-integrity.’  (Jer 33:14-16)

Dr John Bergsma explains Jeremiah’s reference to a branch.

  … we notice that the Reading refers to a “just shoot” (other translations: “Righteous Branch”) raised up for David.  Here the word is Hebrew tzemakh, “branch, sprout.”  In a more famous passage that speaks of the “Branch,” a Hebrew synonym is employed, netzer: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch (netzer) shall grow out of his roots.” This word netzer is the root of the geographical name Nazareth, and in Matt 2:23, the Evangelist finds it particularly fitting that Jesus, the “Branch” (netzer) should come from “Branchton” (Nazareth) and be called a “Branchian” (Nazarene).

Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of ‘the Lord-our-integrity’.  There has been a lot of commentary in the media and on social networking sites in recent weeks about the causes of and solutions to the threat of terrorism.  I would urge all commentators to examine the life of Jesus next to someone like Mohammed and decide where the integrity really lies.  There is a tolerable comparison here. And Marc Barnes has an article which goes to the core of the problem that Western Secular Liberalism has in understanding Islam.

Meanwhile, what is a Christian to do?  Let’s look at what Paul says in the second reading: “May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you.  And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.”

Perhaps the best advice is to follow our Blessed Mother’s request and pray the rosary for our confused world.

Today’s readings (Australia):

Word Format: Year C 1st Sunday of Advent 2015

Pdf Format: Year C 1st Sunday of Advent 2015

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