And we need simplicity to pray as a family: simplicity is necessary! Praying the Our Father together, around the table, is not something extraordinary: it’s easy. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! And also praying for one another! The husband for his wife, the wife for her husband, both together for their children, the children for their grandparents….praying for each other. This is what it means to pray in the family and it is what makes the family strong: prayer. – Pope Francis: (Homily, October 27, 2013)
Gospel Text: (MT 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.
Remember the TV series “Roots”? Today’s gospel of Matthew tells of Jesus’ roots. Jesus’ roots run deep in the long history of Israel, all the way back to Abraham.
We like to look at our family tree. How far back do we go? When did we come to this country? We like to have our family associated with famous men and women. But there can be some relatives we’d rather go un-noticed. Like every family tree we will eventually find some “bad apples”.
St Matthew in today’s gospel wants to impress upon his readers that Jesus is no ordinary person. He comes from a long line of kings and leaders. His genealogy is not based on any direct line of blood. In his line we find Gentiles, we find famous women, we find murderers, adulterers, exploiters. In his line we find men of holiness, wisdom and justice. The whole bag! St. Matthew wants to impress upon his readers that this Jesus who came from an impressive background yet is born in a stable, a refugee fleeing for his life, a proclaimer of the truth that we are all loved by God and for witnessing to this truth would be executed as a common criminal is indeed “God with us”, Emmanuel.
St. Paul tells us that before the world began God chose us to be God’s adopted sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of Jesus. We are family with Jesus whose birth we will soon celebrate. May each of us live such a faithful and upright life that we will never bring shame to our family.