Monday of the Third Week in Advent
(Genesis 49:2.8-10; Matthew 1:1-17)
An African-American preacher once began his sermon by introducing himself. “I am a nobody,” he said, “who has come to tell anybody about somebody who came to save everybody.” The preacher’s claim reflects part of Jesus’ genealogy according to Matthew’s gospel.
It has been noted how the list starts with familiar figures: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and so on. Once it gets to the kings of Judah, the names – Uzziah, Jotham, and Ahaz – may be recognizable but they are certainly less familiar. The names of the final section are mostly unknown –Abiud, Azor, Zadok. But they too have a role in bringing about the Messiah.
Like these last characters, most of us will never become famous. Yet this fact by no means deprives us of a place in salvation history. Jesus commissions each of us, as he did the Eleven at the close of Matthew’s gospel, to tell others all that we have been taught. We are to speak of God’s love for everybody, of Jesus’ call to repent of our selfishness, and of the Christian community where we may live in harmony with all kinds of brothers and sisters.