First Reading:Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Assemble and hear, O sons of Jacob, and hearken to Israel your father. Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who dares rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 72:1-4, 7-8, 17
Give the king thy justice, O God, and thy righteousness to the royal son!May he judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! In his days may righteousness flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may men blossom forth from the cities like the grass of the field!
Gospel: Matthew 1:1-17
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Ammin’adab, and Ammin’adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri’ah, and Solomon the father of Rehobo’am, and Rehobo’am the father of Abi’jah, and Abi’jah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehosh’aphat, and Jehosh’aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi’ah, and Uzzi’ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki’ah, and Hezeki’ah the father of Manas’seh, and Manas’seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi’ah, and Josi’ah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni’ah was the father of She-al’ti-el, and She-al’ti-el the father of Zerub’babel, and Zerub’babel the father of Abi’ud, and Abi’ud the father of Eli’akim, and Eli’akim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli’ud, and Eli’ud the father of Elea’zar, and Elea’zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
I deeply love the study of history. I like to know the intricate details and the broad movements of peoples, ideas, and values. Both my husband and I studied history and it’s one of the great things that we have in common.
I’ll confess that I have always been a terrible student, easily distracted, and negligent when it came to my work. As soon as a professor or a text went over a litany of names and dates, my eyes would glaze over and my thoughts would turn elsewhere. So it’s no surprise that when I’ve come across any of the genealogies in scripture my tendency is to do the same.
But I’m learning to stop and ask, what is He trying to say to us right now? Right here? What can a long genealogy covering several generations speak to our hearts during this time? I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that it has something to do with a steadfast love and a promise that will not be broken.
The historian in me marvels at this God who promises His people that many, many generations from now the fulfilment of His promise will come from their line. And no amount of sinners in the line of sons and daughters will break this promise. He is their God and they are his people. And then, in the most basic and quiet way, God Incarnate steps into history, flesh and blood, and takes on that promise. And that promise is written into His very flesh.
And the kicker for me is always, sinner though I am, He includes me in that ancient promise. He is mine and I am His.
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.