There is no island like it in the world. The air smells of days of old in the clothing, possessions, and books of immigrants dating back to 1892. The walls echo stories of relatives who traveled from Germany, Ireland, and Italy to step foot on Ellis Island and start a new life.
I still remember searching for our family lineage and locating the name of the ship that brought my mother’s great grandparents through the Great Hall. I looked out toward the New York skyline, still capturing the World Trade Center, and tried to imagine the life they left behind to give me the life I have today. Their blood still flows through me; their past gave me my future.
I might not know all the details of my family, but I know they overcame a lot: sin, addiction, mockery, poverty, illness, and scandal. Jesus’ relatives overcame all of this and more.
If we look at the women in Jesus’ genealogy, we find five women by name. Tamar seduced her father-in-law Judah (Genesis 38). Rahab was considered a lady of the night (Joshua 2). Ruth was a widow and a foreigner who became the great grandmother of David (Ruth 1-4). Bathsheba had an affair with David (2 Samuel 11-12). And finally, the Virgin Mary arrived to redeem this broken and messy family tree.
In our past or the past of our family, there is someone or something hidden in shame or sin. But if Jesus’ family tree teaches us anything, it’s that God’s love prevails. From the moment of our birth, we inherited a family tree that is complicated and wonderful. Whether you can trace your family history back fourteen generations or three, God has carved you into His family tree.
Nothing you or your family's bloodline can do will disqualify you from Christ’s love which poured out from His side on the Cross. Let Christ’s blood wash over your family's lineage, bringing forgiveness, mercy, and love to you and your family for generations to come.
The Anima Christi is a powerful prayer about the Body and Blood of Christ.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here.