Thursday of the Third Week in Advent
Some priests are scared about having to proclaim the varied and difficult names that appear in the genealogy Gospel. Though there has been a resurgence in family lineage in recent years, most people today do not find Matthew’s introduction all that captivating. While the text isn’t in the style of a narrative that we are more used to, it still communicates something of great importance: God is a Father who delivers on His promises. For a Jew two thousand years ago, with hopes and expectations in God’s promises, this genealogy would have triumphantly announced that God’s plan had come to completion.
With five mentions of “David” in the genealogy, Matthew draws attention to this key biblical figure and his connection with Jesus. Jesus is referred to as the “son of David” and both individuals are given titles—David “the king” and Jesus, “the Christ” (i.e. the “anointed one”). David was God’s anointed king and the eternal covenant promised that David’s son would reign forever, not just over Israel, but over all the nations. When David’s kingdom fell apart and Israel was sent into exile, it seemed hope was lost. Matthew, therefore, proclaims great news through this long list of names: This book is about the fulfillment of the promises of old in the person of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes God’s plans seem to unfold very slowly in our lives. At times it seems like His handiwork is indistinguishable. This experience can be rather frustrating. The evangelist Matthew is reminding us of a simple, yet powerful word: Hope. Hope in God. Trust in God’s promises. Believe in your heart that the God of all creation has a unique and abiding love for you, and in Him alone will all nations and peoples find peace.
Reflection Question: Do you believe that God can work even through the difficulties and challenging circumstances of your life?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB