Thursday, December 18, 2014
Family tree of Jesus: Daily Mass Homily--Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 (School Mass)
(Listen to this homily here).
That was quite a long list of names we heard in the Gospel! I’ll give someone ten bucks if you can give me three of those names now. [2nd grade student immediately raises her hand and says] Jesse, Abraham and Isaac. Wow. Great job! [Yes, I did square up with this student at the end of Mass! I also made a mental note to remember how smart kids are.]
This list, full of long names—many of whom we don’t recognize—gives the family tree of Jesus. It would be like saying “John was the father of Richard, Richard was the father of John who was the father of Ben (me!)”. I have a cool poster in my office that gives Jesus’ entire family tree. Would anyone want to memorize this?!
Such lists are called genealogies. While they may seem uninteresting to us, they were very important to the people of the Old Testament. They showed where they were from and how God worked throughout their generations.
So why is the list of Jesus’ ancestors given in the Gospel of Matthew? The Old Testament prophets and authors frequently said that the Messiah would come from Judah and in the line of king David. Matthew, in the first verses of his account, shows that Jesus is a descendant of David and the tribe of Judah! Jesus was the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies!
We gather this morning as we prepare for Christmas. Many many many people waited for Jesus to come and he finally did. Every year at Christmas we celebrate his birthday. Have a blessed rest of Advent and a very merry Christmas!