Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew begins his gospel with a list of names tracing the lineage of Jesus. He starts with Abraham, the exemplar of faith, and ends with Jesus, the savior of the world. He mentions several women who gave birth to ancestors of Jesus in anomalous circumstances – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, “the wife of Uriah,” and Mary. We get the idea that God is directing the process that will eventuate in the birth of His son.
In today’s gospel Matthew provides another list of names. These people, in a way, compose a counter to those of the previous list. As the Old Testament figures lead up to Jesus, they will carry Jesus forth to the world as his apostles. In another sense, however, they are similar to the Jesus’ ancestors. They appear as an anomalous group, not very promising to carry out the work of growing an institution. Although they are all Jewish men, they come from a diversity of backgrounds. Once again we have the sense of God directing the process.
We should see ourselves as part of another list of people connected with the two just mentioned. We are spiritual descendants of the ancestors of Jesus receiving through him the faith of Abraham. We are also called by Jesus, like the apostles, to give growth to the Church. Our testimony of both word and example proclaims Jesus as savior and Lord. We may not come from the most promising of backgrounds or may be products of anomalous circumstances but still God guides us to accomplish His purpose.