Matthew's Genealogy of Jesus
Nov 29, 2016
With the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new Church year and a new cycle of readings in the lectionary. This year the Gospel readings will be from Matthew.
The Good News of Jesus Christ according to Matthew begins in Salvation History with Abraham and David. The Gospel of Matthew lays out Jesus' genealogy in order to share with the reader that Jesus Christ is the Messiah; he is the Son of Abraham and Son of David. Naming the kingly ancestors of Jesus point to His authority; He is the royal anointed one.
Although Matthew gives a genealogy from father to son, there are four women who are identified in Jesus' family tree: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah who is Bathsheba. According to Fr. Brendan Byrne, SJ, “they are all non-Jewish in origin” and are surrounded by “an aura of...impropriety” (Lifting the Burden, 21). The naming of these women note that while Jesus is the Jewish Messiah in the line of David and Abraham, “the line of salvation reaching down to Jesus has not proceeded by a purely Jewish route, but brought in Gentiles as well” (Lifting the Burden, 21). The scandal carried by the women in the genealogy is only heightened by Mary’s pregnancy by the Holy Spirit. It is such Good News received through Mary that God’s, “climactic instance of divine interventions brings the line of salvation out of situations” and people who at first appear immoral or unclean, but upon further reflection help bring forth the Messiah (Lifting the Burden, 22). That is Good News!