WORD of the DAY
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. Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. (Matthew 1, 1-5; 16)
Today’s Gospel brings us the genealogy of Jesus Christ. It is a lengthy list of names and we could ask ourselves what is the use of it? And yet, there is a deep theological meaning in it. This list wants to emphasize the powerful reality of the incarnation of Jesus. The evangelist Matthew wishes to highlight the design of the history of salvation that from Adam leads to Christ. In it, God has poured out His mercy and His love. Even those excluded, the sinners, are received in His mysterious providential design. Note in fact, the presence of four women, three of whom were sinners: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, wife of Uriah and then of David. Jesus is born into this history, into this tribe, made also of sin, and not in another, into a ‘purer’ race! He immersed Himself in the muddy human river, along the generations that preceded Him by centuries, becoming one with sinners.
At the height of this genealogical tree there finally appear Joseph and Mary as two stupendous flowers from which comes the Savior, the loveliest bud of humanity. This is Christmas!
O God, great in love, You wanted the purest flower of Your Son to bud forth from the womb of the Virgin Mary, on the stump of the trunk of many past generations, wrapped in the shadow of evil as well, grant that the human stock of our times may find salvation in You. Amen.
The Voice of a Contemporary Theologian
Tertullian said that ‘flesh is the hinge of salvation’. It is with a certain awe that we listen to these words that express the mystery of Advent and of Christmas in these days… In the flesh, the Son accomplishes the central act of salvation and redemption…with the dedication of His body, He accomplishes His salvific obedience before the Father. Christian salvation is an incarnated salvation; it does not come from outside or above our corporeal being but from within, with, and definitely, in its direction. (J.B. Metz, Caro cardo salutis, Brescia 1968, pp. 5s).