READINGS for 2008-12-17
FROm thE bEGINNING
... and from the carrying away into Babylon until Christ, fourteen generation. – Matthew 1:17
I’ve often wondered why Matthew felt it necessary to narrate the many generations from which Jesus descended. One among the few reasons I can think of is to illustrate that God had a plan all along. A plan from generation to generation. A plan that pierced through thousands of years until the day I first experienced His love. A plan to save me from sin.
From the beginning of time, He knew I would reject Him. He knew I would stray. He knew I would need saving. He knew the struggles I would go through, as well as every triumph. He knew every defeat and every victory. Every tear and every moment of laughter. He knew every minute. Every moment. Including this one right now. As Christmas approaches, may His saving love be born in our hearts. May His eternal plan for each of us unfold even more as we experience the wonder of His glory through Jesus Christ our Savior. George Gabriel
Do you feel that God has forgotten You? He hasn’t. You’ve been on His mind from the beginning of time.
Thank You, Lord, for sending Jesus.
God has always raised up leaders for His people. He has never left us without someone to look to for guidance. There are times when people have done a bad job of guiding the People of God, but that is a result of sin and not the fault of God. We should respect our leaders and pray for them often as it is a difficult job to shepherd people, particularly when they seem to think they are better than the leader.
Genesis 49:2, 8-10
2 Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father. 8 “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise — your hand on the neck of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. 9 Judah, like a lion’s whelp, you have grown up on prey, my son. He crouches like a lion recumbent, the king of beasts — who would dare rouse him? 10 The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, while tribute is brought to him, and he receives the peoples’ homage.”
P S A L M
Psalm 72:1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8. 17
R: Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
1 O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; 2 he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. (R) 3 The mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice. 4 He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor. (R) 7 Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. 8 May he rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. (R) 17 May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain. In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. (R)
G O S P E L
This genealogy of Jesus reminds us that He stands in the line of kings and is a descendant of David the great king of 1000 years ago. There is something in the human psyche that seems to give us a desire to know our origins. In the case of Jesus, this is important as many prophecies of the Old Testament speak of His origins and ancestors. Here, Matthew affirms these prophecies as well as demonstrates their validity with the genealogy of Jesus from the side of Mary.
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 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, 6 Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. 8 Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, ehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. 12 After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, 15 Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah. 17 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 Messiah, fourteen generations.
think: God has always raised up leaders for His people. He has never left us without someone to look to for guidance.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Amos 1-3
JESUS – DESCENDANT OF SCANDALOUS ANCESTORS
During my stay in Japan, I met several Japanese who had bought the New Testament because they knew that it was the “Holy Book” of Christians and a bestseller (Japanese love to collect bestsellers). But they complained that they did not read it because of “all those strange names at the beginning.”
Matthew wrote this genealogy for Jewish Christians who were very familiar with genealogies. They knew that a genealogy contains a message rather than just an accurate list of ancestors. Since they were familiar with it, they must have been shocked. For Matthew committed a big “nono” by including the names of women, sinners and foreigners: Tamar who had herself impregnated by her father-in-law; Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute; the Moabite Ruth, and Bathsheba with whom King David committed adultery. They all bore sons through unions that were strange, irregular or unexpected. And so Matthew prepares the reader for the last woman mentioned, Mary, who was neither a foreigner nor a sinner but whose pregnancy will be the supreme “irregularity” – the birth of the Messiah of a virgin mother. Matthew proclaims in the first verses of his gospel who Jesus was. He is a Jew, a descendant of Abraham. He then teaches that Jesus came into this world not only for the Jews and the good people but also for sinners and non-Jews. The verses would eventually lead to the last verses of Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends out His friends into the whole world, to make disciples of all.
This is Good News indeed! Jesus was born into this world for all of us and He died for each and every one of us. We belong to a worldwide community, diverse and yet united in and through Jesus Christ. As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, let us marvel where this would lead to: a worldwide community of saints and sinners. We are privileged to belong to it. Fr. Rudy Horst
Am I aware that I belong to a worldwide community and not just to a local group of believers? Do I include the members of the Church all over the world in my prayers?
Almighty Father, we cannot but thank You today for accepting us into the worldwide community of Your Son Jesus Christ. Even though we are unworthy, St. Matthew makes us aware that You still love us. May we be able to share this Good News and so help others become also part of this universal community.
St. Olympias, widow, pray for us.
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