Today’s reading from Genesis may seem confusing until paired with today’s Gospel—the genealogy of Jesus, which tracks his lineage back to King David. Here, Jacob foretells the mighty triumphs of David:  you have given me the necks of my enemies (Psalm 18:40). He then states that the king’s scepter shall remain within Judah. We know this to be true as our Savior’s birth came to pass in the province of Judea.

So much of the Old Testament points to Jesus as King and to his fulfillment of God’s promise, and yet throughout history so many failed to make the connection. How many of us are equally surrounded by the glory of God, and yet sometimes fail to notice it? Even as we celebrate the birth of our Messiah, we are too often distracted by competing signals to fully focus on the one who holds the scepter and deserves our homage. Jacob spoke of a saving King as far back as Genesis. Let’s not miss him today!

—Michael Gabriele serves as Director of Communications for the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, and is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland..