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Matthew 1:1-17

The Word of God

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. 

Matthew 1:1-17
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • There are surprises in this list of Jesus’ ancestors. Matthew’s genealogy is revolutionary for his time, in that it features five women. In addition, four of the women were gentiles. Add to that the presence of some notable sinners, like Judah and King David, and the intention is clear. It is to highlight the inclusivity of Jesus’ mission.
    • Paul says in Galatians 3:28-29: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In the eight days of the immediate run up to Christmas, the focus is on the characters who were alive when Jesus came, beginning here with Mary and Joseph – cast as the end-product, as it were, of generation after generation.
    • God had long begun the ground work for the coming of his Son – preparing a people who would be in readiness to receive him when he arrives.
    • The chronicle here presents the grand span of God’s plan as it were, akin to a video clip of the main developments, run through at top speed. The epochs or eras or ‘ages’ or aeons belonging to the named individuals are grouped in doubles of seven (a pure number long used to indicate the sacred). Included in the line-up are various ‘extras’ to underline the universalism of God’s plan - women, foreigners, sinners.
    • This is a meditation on the slow growth miracle of God’s providence – sowing seeds that would one day come to maturity. We ourselves, too, can always do a parallel meditation on the milestones of salvation history occurring in our own life.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This gospel weaves the threads of the long history that eventually brings us to Jesus. His family tree, is a mix of holy and unholy figures, public sinners and outcasts. Yet each played an important role and no one’s life was insignificant to God’s plan. Jesus does own his family story. He does not airbrush out any one of his ancestors. Do I?
    • Lord, I thank you for all who have been a carrier of your grace to me. Let not my limitations and inadequacy, impede me from believing that I am important. Let me play my part in being a carrier of your love to the world.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Today’s readings look unsparingly at Jesus’ ancestry. Matthew points out that Jesus’ forbears included children born of incest (Perez), of mixed races (Boaz), and of adultery (Solomon). God entered into our human history with all the episodes that proud people would be ashamed of.
    • Lord, teach me to accept my humanity, my genes, my relatives, as you did.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Matthew’s genealogy is highly unusual for his time, in that it features five women, three of whom were gentiles, one a prostitute and one an adulteress. Such integration of women was quite revolutionary and it highlights the inclusivity of Jesus’ mission. Nobody is beyond the reach of Jesus’ saving power.
    • Jesus is both the descendant and the creator of all these people. He is the end and the beginning, the alpha and the omega. Each of us is formed by our past, but the meaning of that past will be fully determined only by our future.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

    Active
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    • Today’s readings look unsparingly at Jesus’ ancestry. Matthew points out that Jesus’ forbears included children born of incest (Perez), of mixed races (Boaz), and of adultery (Solomon). God entered into our human history with all the episodes that proud people would be ashamed of.
    • Lord, teach me to accept my humanity, my genes, my relatives, as you did.
    • You are a brave person to pray this gospel! It is frequently omitted when we find it at Mass, and unless we know something of the background, it makes little sense. The list is placing Jesus in the mainstream of human life and his people. It lists all sorts of people, holy and not so holy, public sinners, outcasts and the type of people you wouldn't associate with. In our family tree we might erase them or pretend they never existed. This list is God's list of favourites and of co-workers. All can be partners with God in the coming of the kingdom - and that includes me and you - and all sort of people you might normally not invite to dinner or coffee.
    • Matthew's Gospel opens with what, to many people, is an off-putting introduction: a genealogy. What Matthew is trying to do is to place Jesus' birth within the context of all Jewish history from the time of Abraham up to the birth of Jesus. Using groups of fourteen to make his point, he gives the impression that God made mathematically precise preparations for the coming of the Messiah. The first fourteen names mentioned are those of the patriarchs, people such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The second fourteen are Israel's kings, especially Kings David and Solomon. The last fourteen are unknowns from Israel's past who played a vital role in the coming of the Messiah. Four women are mentioned in the genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. The first three women were not Israelites, and Bathsheba was not married to an Israelite. The irregular marriages of the women may well have prepared Matthew's readers for the extraordinary way in which Jesus was conceived.
    • Family and teachers have played a major part in my education and in my coming to faith in Jesus. Having been gifted beyond imagining, do I remember with gratitude all that they have given me?
    • This litany of names deserves to be read reverently, as all names do. I think of the lists that can easily dehumanise and pray that the dignity and experience of each person be respected. I consider that a life's story lies behind each name that I see today.
    • Matthew took care to situate Jesus' life in the sequence of his ancestors. I think of how my life and faith depend on so many others about whom I know so little. I pray for them with thanks.