Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
(Genesis 49:2.8-10; Matthew 1:1-17)
Genealogists study genealogies. They know how to ferret out data from records that most of us overlook. Genealogists tell us that all of us have famous ancestors. They claim that we are all descendants of Julius Cesar or any other famous figure of the ancient past. They say that satisfaction comes not from that fact but from proving it.
No one is a physical descendant of Jesus because he did not have children. But we can all claim him as a relative in two ways. By the wide net of relationships that genealogies make, everyone on earth is a descendant of some ancestor of Jesus. More importantly, we can claim him as a relative when we act like him. When we make an effort to proclaim the Father’s love like he did by acts of mercy, our relationship with Jesus can be physically seen.
Today’s readings speak of genealogy. The first foretells David’s and also Jesus’ being descendants of Judah, a strong man who defeats his enemies. It indicates that they too will overcome all opposition. The gospel traces Jesus’ lineage through David and Judah to Abraham. It shows us that God has carefully planned the coming of His Son. Likewise it assures us that staying in relationship with Jesus will bring us God’s favor.