Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

(Genesis 49:2.8-10; Matthew 1:1-17)

One authority made a claim a number of years ago that every person in the West could, theoretically at least, trace their origins to Charlemagne (if memory serves correctly), and everyone in the world to Nephertiti, the Egyptian queen.  Of course, those who have worked on their genealogies will testify that such research is a daunting task.  The gospel today is offered to stimulate our interest in our origins.

Both Matthew and Luke provide genealogies of Jesus.  They differ at points so both cannot be technically correct if either it.  Matthew’s intends to show the divine plan of salvation from the calling of Abraham to the coming of Jesus.  Interestingly, it features five women – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the mother of Solomon (not named here but whom we know as Bathsheba, and Mary.  The first four, all of whom gave birth under unusual circumstances, show that God works in unexpected ways that can exploit human sinfulness to achieve His will.  The story of Mary, however, also relates not so much an unusual circumstance as something unheard of and of monumental significance.  Her son has no human father but, as the gospel shows in subsequent verses, is conceived of the Holy Spirit.  He is the beginning of a new creation that will proceed not by natural birth but by Baptism.

We are the heirs of that new birth.  Although we are inclined to backslide into sin, we bring forth the new creation by our preaching of the gospel in the world.  Our charitable deeds and encouraging words move others to salvation in Jesus the Christ.