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 Messiah.
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 Messiah, fourteen generations. (Mt 1:1-17)
To many, this could be viewed as one of the dullest Gospel readings of the year! It consists of a long list of names, many of which mean very little to most Christians. But it has one resounding message: Jesus fully entered our human condition, with all its virtues and vices.
One of the main purposes of Matthew’s Gospel, which was written for Jewish Christians by Jewish Christians, is to show the continuity of Jesus in the history and tradition of Israel. Jesus was no upstart. On the contrary, he was the natural development of the long process of God’s relationship with his people. Not only was he the natural development, he was the long-awaited climax.
When the Son of God became a human being, he really did become one of us. The Gospel makes no effort to “sanitize” his origins, or the members of his immediate family. There is no shortage of skeletons in Jesus’ cupboard. When John says, “The Word became a human being and lived among us”, he said no less than the truth.
And, if Jesus was totally incarnated in the world so that he could communicate the message of God’s love to the world and for the world, then we, too, must be totally incarnated. We are not true to our calling if we think that, in order to be true to Jesus, we have to separate ourselves from a material and sinful world. We cannot be the “salt” of the earth, unless we are fully inserted into it. But only when we also fully identify with the values and concerns of the Kingdom. Otherwise we are salt without taste.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, your birth this Christmas is the center and culmination of human history. I thank you for the gift of life, for the mission you have entrusted to me, for granting me the possibility of recovering my dignity, and for adopting me as your child. I know my weakness and the mire I am capable of descending into –– but for the help of your grace. I offer you this day and every day of my life as a gift of love to you. May this gift be always pleasing in your sight.
God did not write human history to end in tragedy. He sent his Son into the world to help man regain his greatness: to rise him up to greater heights, to become sons of God; its goal is for us to be in heaven with God. It’s not enough for us to know our origin is in the love of God and our salvation is in Jesus Christ. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in bringing about God’s gracious plan. We can invest our time to bring about Christ’s Kingdom in the workplace, in our homes and society.