Intention: That in this season of hospitality and generosity, all of us will make a special place for those whose lives are wounded by need, misfortune or injustice.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 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.
A Reflection for the Third Saturday of Advent
When reading the Gospels, one might notice that much of the Nativity story is filled with contradictions. Everyday experience, expectations for the future, even understandings of what is humanly possible – all are being turned upside down. For example, the birth of the Messiah took such an unlikely path that one Gospel writer saw the need to trace Jesus’ genealogy to silence opponents and reassure early followers. Jesus’ life began not at the approved and entitled center of society, but instead at its fringes, in the backwaters of an already obscure region, in the midst of people so socially unacceptable that they were known as anawim – the people only God could love. Today, we continue to make the personal and institutional judgments that marginalize many of our sisters and brothers. We still fail to realize that God’s ways are not our ways. It remains for us to turn away from this selfishness and to accept that we are capable of being much more and doing much better. The path that will lead us once and for all away from our sinfulness is still open to us, just as it was on a certain holy night long ago. The time of Advent is a time for us to restore our hearts and souls by restoring human freedom and dignity to our broken world.
Eternal Father, the Scriptures often speak of times when you spoke to us to remind us of our responsibility for one another, especially for those most in need. In our own lives, we know that your voice continues to sound, but that we do not always choose to listen. In this time of Advent, open our hearts to your Word, and make of us your call to others, that we might honor the birth of your Son by taking up his work and being his worthy and willing ambassadors. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.