Women in the Line of Jesus

First Reading: Genesis 49:2, 8-10

Jacob called his sons and said to them:
“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel, your father.

“You, Judah, shall your brothers praise
–your hand on the neck of your enemies;
the sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah, like a lion’s whelp,
you have grown up on prey, my son.
He crouches like a lion recumbent,
the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him?
The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
or the mace from between his legs,
While tribute is brought to him,
and he receives the people’s homage.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72:1-2, 3-4AB, 7-8, 17

R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.



A widow twice over taking matters into her own hands. A known prostitute. A foreigner, new in town and in desperate financial straits. And a woman taken advantage of, whose sorrow is then added to by the death of her husband and then child.

How odd that in a time when family lineage was firmly patriarchal, these four women of the Old Testament, outsiders and Gentiles, were included in the family tree of none other than Jesus. Outside the cultural norm, they found themselves marginalized, victimized, their lives marked with their struggles and mistakes written down to be passed down.

I may not be as desperate as Tamar or Ruth, but I do struggle with impatience and attempting to steer my own life. I came into the Roman Catholic Church not quite three years ago, and after less than a year, I was ready to relocate to a different state. Becoming Catholic had left me virtually friendless in a city I’d lived for 8 years.

Growing up as a military brat, the best course of plans seemed to me to be to pick up, move, and just start all over. My drastic plan to find true community was a fairly obvious distrust in God’s greater plan. Three years later, my life isn’t perfect, but by settling and letting God show me His hand in lightening my burdens, I am finding what is true and good.

Our story may not mirror any of these women’s story perfectly, but they do share parts. Hurt, pain, rejection, and suffering make up a piece of each of our stories. There is no mistake that these women’s names were recorded as a part of Jesus’ family. His story was, is, and shall continue to be a story of sin and conversion, dark and light, and crooked paths straightened.

The inclusion of the names of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife) reminds us that there is no circumstance that God cannot use in His plan. Our trust in His ability to redeem is the key to begin finding meaning in the pain and suffering in our lives.

[Tweet “By letting God show me His hand in lightening my burdens, I am finding what is true and good.”]

How are you suffering this Advent? What would you like to lay at the crib of the Baby Jesus for healing?

Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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