3rd Week of Advent
1st Reading: Gen 49:2, 8-10
Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father. “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise –your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him? The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people’s homage.”
Gospel: Mt 1:1-17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations.
THE MESSIAH IS TRULY ONE OF US: The gospel of Matthew opens by giving us the genealogy of Jesus. It explicitly affirms that Jesus is the Messiah and the descendant of David and Abraham. The genealogy brings us back to the history of salvation, showing how God fulfilled his promises to Abraham, and to his descendants of Abraham, and of Jacob (Gen 49:8-10). It affirms that Jesus Christ the divine Son of God is truly human, and that God sends him into the world to fulfill God’s promise of sending the Messiah and saviour to the world. The genealogy of Jesus shows that Jesus physically came to dwell with us, by being born among us.Through baptism we become members of God’s people. Jesus is our brother, who has come to show us the way back to God. Listening and following his instructions helps us know how to come back to God.
Prayer: Open my ears to hear your word Lord.
JESUS IS HUMAN: If we were to recall the names of our ancestors, we might remember just a few, yet claim to be truly human. For Jesus 46 generations are traced and in that way, He is more human than we are. He is not a mythological person. Jesus also shares like us an ancestry with sins and limitations. His forefathers and foremothers were weak and sinful. We can trace this from Judah, Tamar, Rahab, David and Solomon who we all know the sins they committed. It can be interpreted that since Jesus shared the human limitations in his genealogy, he was able to be compassionate, loving and forgiving. So we are able to approach him with trust and confidence that he understands and forgives us.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, forgive my sins and those of my forefathers.
LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS: The story of the Messiah’s forefathers is a revelation of the person himself. Forty-two generations neatly picked and presented, that we are enlightened studying them. Messiah does not stand insulated from his roots. He is the fulfillment of history. Today people are running a race against time, sadly for hedonistic values. We run the race to make our lives stable and rooted. We breathlessly run the race to shape up our lives. Often unknowingly, we leave behind us a great deposit of pain and suffering. But man carved out in the image of God was meant for greatness. Human beings who walked beside him in the Garden of Eden slipped from his stature. Thus the genealogy gives expression to the all-encompassing embrace of God. He takes into his family all types of humans without placing conditions of merit, birth or even uprightness. Let’s pause: ‘There is no point in taking life too seriously because, we are not going to get out of it alive’.
GOD MAKES STRAIGHT WITH CROOKED LINES: In the genealogy of Jesus there are five women mentioned: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. The presence of women in the genealogy indicates an irregularity. In fact, each of these women and/or the way they conceived a child has a story. When God became human he embraced the human family with all its flaws. Yet, He sanctifies it. Matthew concludes the list of the names pointing out that from Abraham to Jesus there were three sets of fourteen generations. Fourteen divided by two is seven. Seven is a number of perfection! Yes, God makes straight with crooked lines. He sanctifies the defects created by human choices.