Sorry this is late today! It's my birthday, so I've been celebrating. :)
Here are the Jesse Tree reflections for December 5 & 6:
Optional Reading: Genesis 22:1-19
Symbol: The Ram (God tests Abraham and asks him to sacrifice his son)
“Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’” Gen 22:10-12
In the story of the test of Abraham we see how strong Abraham’s faith is, that he does not refuse to give God his only son as a sacrifice. This offering of Isaac is a prefiguring of Christ’s own Sacrifice on the Cross, when in obedience to His Father’s will He lays down His life for our salvation. We are called to take up our own crosses to follow Him, not against our own wills, but uniting our wills to the will of the Heavenly Father in imitation of Christ, Our Lord.
Optional Reading: Genesis 28: 1-17 (Jacob’s dream)
Symbol: Jacob’s Ladder
“And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves.’” Gen 28: 12-14
Many early Church fathers and saints have spoken of Jacob’s ladder as a symbol of the life a Christian should live, growing in the practice of holiness and self-denial to grow closer to the heavenly perfection of the next life. Others see Christ Himself as the Ladder, since He is both true God and true Man, the bridge that brings heaven and earth together. Jacob’s dream is a powerful reminder to us that we do not live in a world that is only material. In the new translation of the Nicene Creed at Mass we pray “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” In saying these words, we profess our faith in the spiritual realities which surround us, and seek to keep present in our minds our own spiritual nature, the existence of our immortal souls which will live forever.