December 17

Matt 1:1-17

The Genealogy of Jesus


The “genogram” or family tree is often used in family therapy. Insight into one’s recurring or “generationally transmitted” traits, qualities and even sins is thought to be pivotal in renewing the family in therapy. The Genealogy of Christ, being so long, carries with a “representative” quality of the whole human story in need of healing and salvation. Christ’s entry into his family tree shows that man’s life without God’s intervention is like a cycle, never ending and subject to the characters playing in the story. There is moment of faith that wanes through the times, weakened by sin that corrupts even the most noble of them. When Christ comes, it all ends in him, thereby clarifying what we have always been taught: He carried all our sins and died for our salvation. He did not pass any sin to the next generation simply because he did not marry and was himself sinless being the Son of God himself, and Son of Mary, the Immaculate Conception. Yet we must always remember that Christ, born of the family of man, gives hope and courage to renew every family and each one in the family of man. (Fr. Bernard Collera, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


This gospel account is the most natural and the most interesting and indeed the most essential way to begin the story of any person’s life. We call it the family tree. Matthew calls this “the book of generation” or biblos geneseos of Jesus; and it means the record of man’s lineage or pedigree. Jesus has an impressive pedigree containing names of patriarchs, kings, prophets and priests. But the family tree of Jesus does not gloss over the fact that some of these glorious figures lived sinful and outrageous lives. What is the importance of having a family tree? Family trees serve as a reminder that nobody comes into the world as an isolated human being. Everyone was born because he/she was fathered and mothered by a long line of interconnected human beings. Filipinos fully understand the hunger for connections because it is so much part of our family=centered culture. Jesus’ family tree exhibits to us the royalty of kingship gained, the tragedy of freedom lost, and the glory of liberty restored. And that in the mercy of God is the story of humankind and of each individual human being. We, too, are a combination of good and bad, the clean and the unclean, the beauty and the beast. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Dairy 2004)


Everyone enjoys tracing his family tree. In the case of Jesus, He has certainly an impressive pedigree containing names of patriarchs, kings, prophets and priests. But His family tree does not ignore the fact that some of those glorious figures – Judah and David, for example, were also weak and sinful persons like anyone else. Some of Jesus’ ancestors were outstanding; others were outright sinners. Indeed no human family is perfect except the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

What is the significance of knowing one’s family tree? A family tree reminds that we are all webbed; we were fathered or mothered by a long line of interconnected human beings, and unless we chose celibacy, we become links for the begetting of new generations.

Some people long for impeccably elite or prestigious connections so that they could boast about their pedigree. Sadly, we feel mortified to discover skeletons in the family closet and tend to ignore or hide them from others. May God continue to bless and guide our families in spite of our individual or common imperfections. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


“Whenever is being in this office, have a spare.” Such is the principle followed in most work places so as to avoid work stoppage due to petty reasons like a printer cartridge that ran out, a pencil that broke, or a cellcard that has been consumed. And before I forget, include in the list a collection of flyers for free delivery fast food outlets….food!

These, in a nutshell, are the necessities for “life” in the office to go on. Notice that a genealogy, a list of ancestors like the gospel passage we just read, has no place in the office. Everything is geared for people to move forward. Away with those things that hold us back for in this competitive world, it’s the unending race to top that matters most. Correct?

Someone did ask an abandoned orphan who was able to successfully climb the highest position in the corporate world, who has traveled all over the continents and who keeps an enormous amount of money in the banks. She was asked what would be the most important thing for her, and she readily revealed that it’s the chance to be able to know her true parents. In the end realize that its genealogy that counts after all. We even call God our Father, He who is on top of each and every genealogy. It’s Him who matters most! (Fr. Anthony Ynzon, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


“What’s in a name?” Juliet asked in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. She is regretting situation that Romeo, her love, has the family name of an enemy and because of this, they have trouble expressing their love to each other. That which we call a rose, by any other name, will smell and sweet…Doff thy name, Romeo in place of it, take all of me…” what’s in a name? What’s, with all these names in the gospel for today. Some names are familiar, some are strange. Some I can recognize, some are hard to even pronounce. These are the name of the ancestors of Jesus. they are named here to stress that Jesus, indeed, became human, and had his own family tree. The lesson I get from this gospel is that when Jesus became one like us through Mary, he accepted the wholeness of humanity, the good and the bad. Mary was conceived without sin by virtue of God’s grace. But some names in the family tree are of sinful people. Tamar played the harlot and had sexual relations with her father-in-law. Rahab was a prostitute. David may have been a great king but he was an adulterer. Solomon was wise, but he had so many wives. The family tree of Jesus, like that of ours, was a mix of the good and the bad. But he took them all in. he would save them all. “Thank you Jesus that you did not run away from the evil, but conquered it all. In my life, please let me learn to take the good with the bad, though I am always striving to conquer the bad with your help.”

What’s in a name? Plenty! (Fr. Roderick C. Salazar, Jr. SVD Bible Diary 2009)


December 17, 2016 Saturday

Today starts the rst of nine misas de gallo stirring Filipino popular piety to Advent excitement for Christmas Eve. Oddly, the gospel reading happens to be just a long boring list of tongue-twisting Jewish names. Yet, for devout Jewish listeners, the genealogy of Jesus takes their collective memory for a rollercoaster ride through saddening and gladdening events in their biblical past. It presents Jesus as a descendant of Abraham –the Son of God born not as some ethereal human being, but “en- eshed” as a male Jew in rst-century Palestine. In short, he was truly and fully human “like us except in sin” (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15).

Surprisingly, before mentioning Mary, this patriarchal genealogy highlights a few other women:

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife. What these four have in common is their non-Hebrew lineage with whom the Israelites had love-hate bonds in the course of biblical history. The gospel reading then hints at how Jesus’s ancestry was not at all some“pure” Jewish blood-line –but one resulting from inter-ethnic marriages. With this as a start, Matthew’s gospel will later end with Jesus’ mandate to create an intercultural spiritual family: “Go into the whole world… preach and baptize people from all nations…” (Matthew 28:28).

Lastly, Jesus’s genealogy enumerates 3 sets of 14 generations: from Abraham to David who rose to kingship, from David to Josiah who fell into exile in Babylon, and from Josiah to Joseph who virtuously assumed fatherhood over the long awaited Messiah. That lengthy list mixes names of unknown commoners with famous rulers –some of whom are remembered for having been noble and valiant, others for having been corrupt and cowardly. In this then consists the most salient “good news” of today’s gospel: that, although from good parents can come bad children, good children can also come from bad parents. Finally, it is not human progenythat determines what and who we become in life as persons. Rather, it is our openness to divine providence that prods and prompts our personal freedom toward an ever brighter tomorrow. (Fr. Pio Estepa, SVD | U.S.A. Bible Diary 2016)


SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET. We hear people talking at parties: “He’s my relative. We are related. We are cousins” or “My husband is married to her cousin.” We are a people who want to establish relationships no matter how distant, preferably close relationships because we are a people who cannot live by ourselves. We are a people who find meaning in living with people who are good, with people who are respected, with people who are renowned, with people who are successful, with people who are intelligent. Because in associating with these people, in calling these people relatives, cousins, neighbors or saying we grew up together, we establish our relationships. We think and we believe that birds of the same feather flock together.

Now what do we do with the skeletons in our closets? What do we do with people who are not so respectable, who are not so intelligent, who have diseases, who have sicknesses, and yet they are cousins, they are relatives, they are neighbors and we are actually related to them? The general tendency is to keep quiet. In the case of the Lord, He does not keep quiet about those skeletons in His family tree. He said He belonged to a family where there was a prostitute, a betrayer, an adulterer. He belonged to a family where there was a foreigner who was considered outside of the chosen family.

Yet what do we do with the skeletons in our closets? The answer of the Lord is we claim them as ours.  If we lay claim to good relatives, why should we not lay claim to bad relatives? If we have friends of whom we can be proud, why should we not thank the Lord for our relatives, for our neighbors in whom we cannot take pride? It is time to look into ourselves. What do we do with the skeletons in our closets? The answer is returned them to the Lord. Give them to the Lord and allow the Lord to be in every relationship. (Bp. S. Villegas, DD Love Like Jesus p. 91)


2nd Day, 17th December (Year A): Theme is God’s Humanity in Jesus
Readings: Genesis 49: 2. 8-10; Matthew 1: 1-17

The short reflection on the 2nd day of Misa de Gallo is taken from the Gospel reading (Matthew 1: 1-17).”The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Mt. 1: 1)

The reflection relives the Angelus prayer: “And the Word was made flesh and He dwelt among us.” His ancestors lived here on earth and they were real people like you and I… God himself is coming to live among us…! The humanity of Jesus is presented to us… he as the son of David, the son of Abraham. And at the last portion of his genealogy, Jesus is the son of Mary whose spouse is Joseph of the House of David.

I believe in God. Not that cosmic, intangible spirit-in-the-sky that I learned in Catechism as a little boy “always was and always will be.” But the God who became human like me in all things and embraced me in all my weaknesses and sins.

It is the God who has become hungry, lonely, poor, powerless and abandoned. Yet, it is this same God who holds my hand every time I fall, because of my weaknesses and flaws. The humanity God reveals his complete solidarity with me, but sin. He is there when I am swallowed by the elements, in the experiences death by loved ones, and in the hopelessness of conditions I often find myself. And God in all his humanity is the PRESENCE amid the absence of any one to wrap his arms around me and tell me, “everything’s going to be okay,” to speak proudly of me, to call me son.

I believe in God, God the Father, embodied in his Son Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary. The God who allowed me to feel His presence — whether by the warmth that filled my belly like hot and freshly brewed coffee on a cold morning, or that voice, whenever I found myself in the tempest of life’s storms, telling me – ‘have no fear’ that I was something, that I was His, and that He is with me.

My father died in a plane crash when I was still seven months in the womb of my mother. He lived in my life only through the stories that my mother never tired re-telling. It wasn’t until many years later, standing over my father’s grave for a long overdue conversation that my tears flowed. I told him about the man I had become. I told him about how much I wished he had been in my life. And I realized fully that in his absence, I had found another. Or that He — God, the Father, God, my Father — had found me.
Bapa Jun Mercado, OMI (


MISA DE GALLO December 17 – Mateo 1:1-17. Unsa may pagbati nato sa atong mga katigulangan? Ang atong katigulangan pwede nga maghatag kanato’g dungog; pwede usab sila nga maghatag og kaulawan. Kasagaran, ikaulaw nato ang mga kaliwat nga nakahimog dakong sala. Apan dili ingon niini ang pagbati ni San Mateo. Ang iyang listahan sa kaliwat ni Jesus nag-apil sa mga tawo nga nakahimo’g eskandalo sama kang Rahab nga usa ka daotang babaye ug kang David nga nakigrelasyon kang Batsheiba nga asawa sa iyang sundalo. Pinaagi niini, gipakita sa ebanghelyo ang dakong tuyo sa pagpakatawo sa Ginoo nga mao ang pagpasaylo ug pagluwas sa mga makasasala. Hinaot nga kita usab makat-on sa pagpasaylo sa atong mga kaliwat nga makasasala alang sa kalinaw ug kaayohan sa atong pamilya. (Fr. Abet Uy)


Friday, December 16, 2016

DECEMBER 17 – MATEO 1:1-17. GIUNSA MAN NATO PAGDAWAT ANG ATONG KALIWATAN? Ang atong mga kaliwat mahimo nga maghatag kanato’g dungog; pwede usab sila nga maghatag og kaulawan. Kasagaran, ikaulaw nato ang mga kaliwat nga nakahimo’g dakong sala. Apan, dili ingon niini ang pagbati nga gipakita sa ebanghelista nga si San Mateo. Ang iyang listahan sa kaliwat ni Hesus nag-apil sa mga tawo nga nakahimo’g eskandalo sama kang Rahab ug Tamar nga mga daotang babaye ug kang David nga nakigrelasyon sa asawa sa iyang sinaligang sundalo. Pinaagi niini, gipakita sa ebanghelyo ang dakong tuyo sa pagpakatawo ni Kristo nga mao ang pagluwas sa mga makasasala. There is room for all of us, saints and sinners, in God’s family through grace and forgiveness. Hinaot nga kita usab magdinawatay ug magpasayloay sa usag-usa. Posted by Abet Uy


Reflection for Wednesday December 17, Late Advent Weekdays; Matthew 1:1-17 – Reflection: With the modernity of technology today wherein we are always busy with facebook and our many gadgets. Do we still have time to know our family tree or are we still willing to know our family tree? Say for example the names of our ancestors, are we still willing to know them?

Or we don’t have time to know them for the simple reason that they belong to the past already. And we are now here in this high-technology driven times where there is less people to people interaction. We now interact more with our internet friendly cell phones, ipads, laptops etc.

Nevertheless, we still need to know who our relatives are for the simple reason that we are humans, we are not high tech cell phones or other gadgets. And as such we need to know who our relatives are, so that we could also touch base and help them if they are in need of help.

We have in our gospel the ancestry of Jesus, it traces the family history of Jesus. From Abraham, King David up to Saint Joseph the designated father of Jesus. This ancestry shows the humanity of Jesus.

Even if He is God the Son Jesus is also human like all of us and being human this means that He is one with us. We can even adopt Him as our relative so that we could feel more closer to Him. For example we can treat Jesus as our brother or even our father that we could communicate with anytime.

God could have chosen Jesus to directly originate from heaven like a shooting star coming into earth. But God allowed Jesus to come from an ancestry of numerous people so that we can always be at home with Him. And so that we could treat Him as our close friend, our brother or even our father.

How’s your relationship with Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reflection for December 17, Thursday of the Third Week of Advent; Matthew 1:1-17

Reflection: Can you still trace back the ancestry where you are from?  Some of us may still be able to trace it back some may not anymore. The importance of tracing back our roots is we somehow will have an idea about who we are and who our relatives are.

The gospel reading shows the many names of the family tree of Jesus. Just like us many members of Jesus’ lineage are flawed like King David who had an immoral affair with Bathsheba.  Solomon was a bigtime womanizer; he was not faithful to the Lord as well.

Jesus ancestors were not perfect like us but God chose Jesus to belong into that family tree. To show to us that despite our sinfulness God still wants us to belong to Him.

God in His infinite wisdom believes in our capacity to change for the better we who are sinful. God knows that deep in our hearts we yearn to leave behind our sinful life. He believes that someday somehow we shall be able to see the light. And that light is Jesus.

God is offering us Jesus who is ever ready to redeem us from our sins no matter how grievous our sins are. God is so merciful that He doesn’t discriminate whoever we may be. He doesn’t judge us. He rather looks at our desire to renew our lives and leave behind our sinfulness. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reflection for Saturday December 17, Third Week in Advent; Matthew 1:1-17

Can you still trace back your own family tree?

The family tree of Jesus is not all righteous some were sinners like us, for example King David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. There were other sinners in His family tree but God chose to imbed Jesus in that lineage.

The incarnate God our Emmanuel wants to dwell in us too it doesn’t matter who we are or how sinful we are. He just wants to be with us so that we could find peace and hope in our lives. Peace and hope which are sorely lacking in our lives today.

As you trace back your own family tree you surely would find imperfections amongst them. But it should not dishearten you for the simple reason that nobody is perfect in this world. Even you are not perfect, notwithstanding your own imperfections always believe that the Good Lord has a plan for your life.

And that plan is for you to have a personal relationship with Him. God is very excited to have a personal encounter with you! He wants you to become His close confidant. So that you’ll always have someone to run to whenever you’re being enveloped by the trials of this world.

This advent season, allow Jesus to come into your life and strive also to live your life worthy for His coming birth. Don’t think anymore of your sins for everyone of us are sinners think rather of Jesus unconditional love which is always available for you. –  Marino J. Dasmarinas


KATAPATAN SA PAGKASALAWAHAN : Reflection for Simbang Gabi Day 2 – December 17, 2014 – YEAR OF THE POOR

Nasusukat ba ang katapatan ng isang tao?  May kuwento ng isang paring mahilig presyuhan ang kanyang mga ikinakasal.  Minsang siya ay nag-interview para sa kasal ay una niyang kinausap ang lalaki: ” Kung bibigyang halaga sa salapi ang katapatan ng magiging misis mo, magkano ang katumbas nito? ” “Father, ang halaga ng katapatan niya ay PhP 20,000. ”  Muling nagtanong ang pari, “Eh, yung pagiging maunawain niya, magkano ang halaga nito?”  “Father, ang pagkamaunawain niya ay PhP 10,000!”  “Eto, huling tanong na,”  sabi ng pari, “Yung kagandahan ng magiging misis mo magkano?”  “Father, limang piso po!”  sagot ng lalaki.  “Bakit naman limang piso lang?”  “Gusto po ninyong malaman, eh di tingnan n’yo po sa labas yung magiging misis ko!” sagot ng binata.  Lumabas nga ang pari at sinilip anfg itsura ng mapapangasawa.  Nang bumalik ang pari sa silid, inabutan niya ng dalawang piso ang lalaki sabay sabi, “Ito ang dalawang piso, may sukli ka pa, tatlong piso lang pala ang halaga ng kagandahan niya!”  Mga kapatid, yung mga may asawa presyuhan n’yo nga ang kagandahan ng partner ninyo, magkano ba?  Kung limangpiso lang ang halaga niya, ang tawag dyan ay FIDELITY  o katapatan! hehehe…  Ang fidelity ay galing sa salitang latin na FIDES na ang ibig sabihin ay pananampalataya.  Ibig sabihin, ang katapatan ay posible lamang kung ang isang tao ay may malakas na pananampalataya.  Ating narinig ngayong ikalawang araw ng Simbang Gabi ang tala-angkanan o Genealogy ng ating Panginoong Jesus.  Pagkahaba-haba ng mga pangalang ating narinig.  Baka inantok pa nga ata ang marami sa atin habang binabasa ito; ngunit isa lang naman ang mensaheng nais iparating nito: na kailanman ay naging tapat ang Diyos sa atin!  Naging tapat Siya sapagkat tinupad Niya ang Kanyang pangakong kaligtasan sa pamamagitan ng kasaysayan.  Ang Diyos ay naging tapat sa Kanyang pangako.  Ngunit ang katapatang ito ay nangangailangan ng kasagutan sa atin.  Ang ating tugon ang ating paghihntay sa Kanya ng may malalim na pananampalataya, masidhing pag-asa, at maalab na pag-ibig.  Totoong tayong mga tao ay may kahinaan sa ating mga sarili.  Tayo ay may pusong salawahan at kalimitan ay nagtataksil tayo sa ating mapagmahal na Diyos.  Ang goodnews… ang Diyos ay nananatiling TAPAT sa kabila ng ating patuloy na pagtataksil at kailanman ay hindi niya tayo pagtataksilan.  Nawa ito ay magdulot sa atin ng inspirasyon upang pag-alabin pa ang ating pagmamahal sa Kanya!  Mamuhay tayo ng may katapatan at huwag taglayin ang pusong salawahan! Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan


Insight on December 17, 2016: Second Day of Simbang Gabi

The genealogy of Jesus teaches us that family tree will help us trace our roots and will give us interconnections with others is such a way that family and human relations are sustained, strengthened and enhanced. Someone once said that three things remain in life: One is God. Two is family. Three is friend. Human experience will tell us that God, family and friends are always there with us in times of sorrow, pain, loneliness and emptiness. They always stay with us even when the world rejects and abandons us. When we have nothing to hold on, when we have nothing to lean on, when we have no one to go to they are always there for us to lift us up, to help us and to welcome us.

Magic Johnson, the most popular NBA player, in the peak of his career got infected with HIV virus. When the whole world knew about it, AIDS still carries in itself the moral stigma. It was not surprising, therefore, if was indeed judged and condemned by the world because of it. When one reporter approached and asked him what he was planning to do then, he simply said, “Ill go home and stay with my family. They will always take me in.” (fr. Estong Bendita 2016.12.17)


THE ULTIMATE – 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. – Matthew 1:17

I have encountered the above passage many times before, but it’s only now that I took notice of numbers in Scripture. Why sets of 14 generations? I did some reading and learned that in the Jewish faith, seven is the number for spiritual perfection and fullness or completion. We can find many sevens in the Bible. To name a few, the Sabbath is observed on the seventh day (Exodus 20:10). There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3). Also, it took Solomon seven years to build the temple (1 Kings 6:38).

I am neither a historian nor a theologian, and I am definitely not superstitious. But I find significance in the message this may bring: If seven is a holy number, the number 14 is a double measure of divine perfection — Jesus!

Interestingly, in seven days, it will be Christmas Eve, the day we celebrate our Savior’s birth. As we prepare for it, let us remember that He is the ultimate manifestation of God’s love for us, and He deserves our best. Let us glorify Him in our hearts and in our lives, not only during this season but every day. Nova A. Sevilla (

Reflection: What can you do to make this Christmas doubly special — for Jesus and for others?

Lord Jesus, You are God’s ultimate gift to the world. You gave Your all to me. I pray that I, too, may be able to give my all to You. Amen.


A STORY OF GREATNESS AND SHAME – The genealogy of Jesus is read today from the Gospel of St. Matthew. There is another genealogy, with some remarkable differences from what we read today, that is found in Luke 3:23-38. But the Church’s liturgy prescribes Matthew’s genealogy for this second day of the Christmas novena. This is because the hopes and prophecies about the coming of Jesus as Messiah had been nurtured first in the tradition of faith of the Israelites, and Matthew’s genealogy connects Jesus to the bloodline of Israel. The genealogy opens by mentioning Jesus as son of Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, the grandfather of Jacob from whom the 12 tribes originated. The genealogy particularly mentions Jesus as son of David, and with this — as foretold by the prophets — Jesus comes from the tribe of the Lion-Judah, from the clan of Jesse, and from the house of David.

The bloodline, clan and family from which Jesus humanly descended was far from perfect. It is a mixture of men who are saintly and sinners. Abraham was a man of faith but he had a tendency to lie if only to save his life. Isaac was a faithful husband with only one wife, Rebekah, but he played favorites between Esau and Jacob. Jacob was a shrewd brother who stole the birth right from Esau. David and Solomon were great kings but they were super-polygamous. Manasseh was the grandson of King Ahaz who is said to have martyred the prophet Isaiah. Three women mentioned on the list were of questionable repute: Rahab was a prostitute from Jericho; Ruth, who became grandmother to King David, was a Moabite widow who seduced Boaz to be her husband; Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite,  became mother of Solomon because of her adultery with David.

As He embraced being human, Jesus therefore shows that human life involves being rooted in a family and its history. Rootedness in a family makes us acquire our culture, customs, language, and social and economic identity. But no family is perfect; no bloodline is pure. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: Sit down together as a family. Re-live the joys, fine moments, and shameful events of your bloodline. End with a family prayer around the Christmas crib. Be grateful. Forgive. Intercede for one another.

Thank You for my family, Lord, no matter how imperfect it is. Amen.


Saturday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Gn 49: 2. 8-10; Ps 72: 1-2. 3-4ab. 7-8. 17; Mt 1: 1-17

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ                

Matthew begins his Gospel by describing the genealogy of Jesus. With its emphasis on “Christ”, “Son of God” and “Son of Abraham”, the opening verse (1:1) functions on as a thematic title. Jesus Christ is explained as Son of David and Son of Abraham by the genealogy itself. Matthew’s purpose in tracing the ancestry of Jesus is to show that Jesus belongs to the history of God’s chosen people and that he is the goal and fulfilment of the history.  Matthew divides the genealogy of Jesus in to three sections of 14 generations each. It is arranged in three sections, and the three sections are based on three great stages in Jewish history. The first section takes the history down to David. David was the man who welded Israel into a nation, and made the Jews a power in the world. The first section takes the story down to the rise of Israel’s greatest king. The second section takes the story down to the exile to Babylon. It is the section which tells of the nation’s shame, and tragedy, and disaster. The third section takes the story down to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the person who liberated men from their slavery, who rescued them from their disaster, and in whom the tragedy was turned into triumph. These three sections stand for three stages in the spiritual history of mankind.

A surprising feature of the genealogy is the mention of four women in the list of Jesus’ ancestors: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the ‘wife of Uriah’ (Bathsheba). Women are not usually listed in Jewish genealogies. Their inclusion in the genealogy is a prefiguration of the admission of sinners and gentiles in God’s kingdom. Matthew’s interest is more theological than historical: despite of human defections and failures God continues to be faithful to his promises – the Birth of Jesus, the promised Messiah. Matthew unexpectedly changes the pattern in verse 16 for he does not say that Joseph was the father of Jesus; but he says that Joseph was the husband of Mary by whom Jesus was born. Although nothing is said about Joseph’s role in the generation of Jesus, Mathew wants to stress that it is through Joseph that Jesus id son of David. Jesus belongs to our history. Our history is intimately related to God. Jesus has his roots in our tainted human history. In tracing Jesus’ ancestry we come across with very ordinary people. God chooses to be part of our ordinary life and our family tree.  Jesus belongs to us. We too must belong to God and his people. To live in isolation is to go against the spirit of salvation history. In this Advent season we are invited to walk with Jesus, knowing his roots, of his birth and Messianic mission so that we may be enriched by his word and bring radical changes in our lives. Fr Shepherd Thelapilly CMI


December 17, 2016

Today’s gospel reading presents the genealogy of Jesus covering the span of time between Abraham and Jesus, namely, 1850 years or so. There are 42 names in the list, arranged in series of 14 names. But this list should contain 74 names, if we count 4 generations per century. Why is it so incomplete? Because Matthew wanted to have a symbolic list, a list which would express a theological message “between the lines,” as it were. This is how it works.

Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value: the first, aleph, is equal to 1; the second, beth, is equal to 2; etc. Which means that each proper name is equivalent to a number, based on the consonants of the name (the vowels do not count). So the name David is equivalent to 4+6+4 or 14. This figure 14 symbolically represents King David. Now Matthew tells us through these symbols that Jesus comes after 3 times 14 generations, that he is a triple David, a Super-David! (The triple repetition in Hebrew is equivalent to a superlative, as the Holy, Holy, Holy of Isaiah’s vision in Is 6).

In brief, Matthew is telling us, Jesus is the promised super-king, the Messiah.


See:  Year I,   Year II

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