December 17, 2014

The Gospel Today

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Matthew 1:1-17 

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.

Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bualun):

A genealogy is historical by nature. It is an account of persons, family or group from an ancestry. In the tradition of the Israelites, it places a very vital use especially in the inheritance of the firstborn. The genealogy will determine the rightful and legitimate leader of the Israelites both priestly aspect and kingly aspect.

The Gospel for today is about the family and heritage of Jesus Christ. Listening to this account may be boring and uninteresting because of the reading of the long list of unfamiliar persons connected to the lineage of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I believe we can learn three things about the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

  • The genealogy makes us realize that God intended to enter into the history of man. He embraced the humanity of man with full recognition of his weaknesses, sinfulness and limitations. He revealed Himself through the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and finalized through the cooperation and faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the list of names mentioned not all of those mentioned acted exemplary in their life. Many of them in fact acted disobediently in their duties and vow to the Lord. For instance, Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon had a adulterous relationship with David. Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah, disguised herself as prostitute and seduced Judah. Some others were sinners and weak like us.
  •  The genealogy manifested the faithfulness of God to send the Savior. The Gospel began by proclaiming the connection of the lineage of Jesus to King David whom God has promised to send the Messiah. This is very important to the Israel because of the expectation of the fulfillment of the coming of the Savior of Israel who will rule as gloriously as David. We can see the connection through the thrice mentioning of the 14 generations, which some scholars believe that this the numerical symbol of the name of David. This act of God can be translated by His continuous call to man to hold on to the promise of God.
  • The genealogy proved that the historical Jesus really excited. The long list of names from various generations concretely proved that Jesus existed in the history of man. This only showed that Jesus indeed was born in a human family that was shaped by the culture and bounded by time and space. Otherwise, the genealogy will include only those people of greater credibility and integrity.

The genealogy is just one way for us to we realize that God didn’t stop in loving all of us. He never denies and conceals the humanity’s fallen nature. In fact he used that fallen nature so that people can experience Him in a concrete and personal way. The fallen state of man didn’t hinder God to reveal Himself in a special way through His Son, Jesus Christ.

One has said this, “pwede kang pumili ng mapapangasawa pero hindi kailanman ng magulang” or one can choose a husband or wife but never one’s parents. Our parents are our connection to other members of our clan which some might be regarded as bad while some are good. There might be no problems to be identified with our family members who are good. However, complication happens when problem arises with our relatives who are undesirable. Some would either deny them or choose to be indifferent to them.

The challenge of this second “simbang gabi,” is this: as God entered human history and embraced all our imperfections except sin, we have to love and be compassionate to those family members who are undesirable and even those people whom God has given us with the opportunity to encounter them in their life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *