Today’s gospel is taken from the opening verses in Matthew’s gospel. Apart from the argument of which gospel is the first or the oldest, the placement of the Gospel of Matthew as the first book encountered in the New Testament is brilliant. The opening verses “connect” the story of Jesus to the whole of the Old Testament through the genealogy. We know the biblical VIPs: “the son of David, the son of Abraham” and we know a few more: Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Jesse and Joseph…but most are hard pressed to know many more on the list. Continue reading
The gospel for today is the genealogy from Matthew. I have proclaimed this gospel for many years, and truth be told, I can see eyes glaze over a bit, people yawn, shift in their seats. It is certainly not an action-packed narrative. We are familiar with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but “Ram the father of Amminadab” – not so much. There are 40 names over 27 generations. I think most people might know 6 or 7 of the folks. If you know 10 names, you’re doing very good! If you know more, you should be leading Bible Study at your church!!
And Matthew starts out his narrative with the genealogy: Matthew 1:1-17. If this were a text, I think most people are going to “swipe left” and move on. Clearly, he did not have a modern publisher.
In today’s gospel, we hear the opening lines of Matthew’s Gospel, the genealogy of Jesus, forty-two generations that stretch from Abraham to Christ. Among the generations we read: “…Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king…” Ruth has “her own book” in Sacred Scripture. The Book of Ruth is named for the Moabite woman who commits herself to the Israelite people by an oath to her mother-in-law Naomi: “Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16). Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of King David by marriage to Boaz of Bethlehem. Continue reading
Matthew 1:18-24. 18 Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20 Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. 21 She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. 25 He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. Continue reading