Lineage and Nativity

Matthew 1: 1-16, 18-23
Mi 5: 1-4a / Psa 13

Of her was born Jesus, Who is called the Messiah.
(Matthew 1:17)

Why find it so hard to believe
That without sin she was conceived?
To bear Christ in a womb secure,
God surely chose a vessel pure.

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Aminadab, Aminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:1-16,18-23)

Reflection

The evangelist Matthew outlined the genealogy of our Lord Jesus in the lineage of King David, starting from Abraham down to His father Joseph, the husband of Mary. He divided this genealogy of the Messiah into three spans: from Abraham to David, from David to the exile in Babylon, and from the exile to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Along the genealogical tree of the Messiah, Matthew included the names of four women whose obvious common link is their Gentile ancestry: Tamar of Canaan, Rahab of Jericho, Ruth the Moabite and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. But Matthew ended his genealogy with another woman, the Virgin Mary, who, unlike the four, was pure and without the stain of sin. “Of her was born Jesus, called the Messiah.”

Who was Tamar? We encounter her in the book of Genesis ch.38. She was the daughter-in-law of Judah, one of Jacob’s children. She was given in marriage to two of Judah’s sons, Er and Onan, who both died because they offended Yahweh. Fearing that his third son might befall the same fate, Judah did not allow him to marry Tamar. Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced Judah, her father-in-law in order to have an heir by him without his knowledge. She bore the twins Perez and Zerah. In the book of Joshua (ch.2), we meet Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho. As a Gentile, she was considered unclean, an outcast. To save herself and her family from the invading armies of Israel, she made a pact with the spies of Joshua, whom she hid in her house in Jericho. She bore Boaz, a God-fearing man who married Ruth, another Gentile from the tribe of Moab. Although Ruth was known for her fidelity, piety and moral integrity, (Book of Ruth), nonetheless, she was a Moabite, the tribe descended from the incestious relationship of Lot with his daughters. “The elder daughter bore a son, who was named Moab” (Gen. 19:37). Finally, who doesn’t know Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of Uriah, one of the pagan officers of King David? He lusted for her when he spotted her bathing from his rooftop, and because of her, David committed two great sins of murder and covetousness. He caused the death of her husband in order to have her. From her came King Solomon, although renowned for his great wisdom, also fell from God’s favor.

Today, we learn that the Messiah was descended from two prostitutes, another from a tribe produced from incest, and from an adulteress. What does all this tell us? Simply that Jesus Christ, the King of kings in heaven and on earth, was destined to become human, and the friend of sinners and even “outsiders” (Gentiles). He Himself said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt.9:13). But the Fruit of the Holy Spirit is sinless, therefore God willed that He be born also by a sinless Mother, that all may know that Jesus is primarily God Himself. That is why we honor Mary, and the purity of her own nativity today.

Thank You, Father God, for giving us Mary, the sinless Mother of Your Son, to be our Mother. May our generations be blessed through her loving intercession. Amen.

One Response to “Lineage and Nativity”

  1. telson  on September 9th, 2010

    http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/YeshuapromisedMessiah.html

    Article which shows that Jesus is the Messiah. The old testament text proves that Jesus is the Messiah!