Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Hosea 10:1-3.7-8.12; Matthew 10:1-7)
Matthew begins his gospel with a list of names tracing the lineage of Jesus. He starts with Abraham who received God’s promise to create a people more numerous than the stars of the sky. He ends with Jesus, who brings that promise to fulfilment. Matthew mentions a few women like Rahab and Ruth, non-Israelites who exhibit extraordinary faith and courage. The genealogy indicates God’s hand guiding the process despite the people’s shortcomings.
In today’s gospel Matthew provides another list of names. In one sense, these twelve men provide a counterweight to those of the previous list. As the Old Testament figures lead up to Jesus, the apostles will carry Jesus’ name to the world. In another sense, however, they are similar to Jesus’ ancestors. They are a diverse lot. Many of them, like Matthew, the tax-collector, seem unlikely candidates to carry out Jesus’ mission. Once again there is a sense of God’s directing the whole affair.
We should see ourselves as part of still another list of people connected to Jesus. We have similarities to the people already mentioned. As the first group comprised Jesus’ ancestors, we are his spiritual descendants. Like the apostles, we are called by Jesus to bring others into his Church. We can do so by caring for one another and by professing Jesus’ name to those whom we meet.