17th December 2020

Thursday, Third Week of Advent;

Gen 49:2,8-10;    Ps 72:1-4,7-8,17;    Mt 1:1-17


Genealogies were a literary form, intended to convey a message and were also meant to prove one’s identity. Through his genealogy, Matthew wishes to prove the identity of Jesus. Old Testament genealogies seldom mentioned women. However, four women are mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. This mentioning of women therefore, is something special and unique. Biblical scholars speculate three reasons, for this break of the stereotyped formula of the genealogical lists, and as to why he introduces these particular women and not others:

• It has been argued that they were all sinners. This highlights the fact that God became incarnate for the sake of us sinners and that Jesus is the saviour of sinners. Hence, mentioning of the sinful women is a way of giving force and special significance to the mission of Jesus. • A special significance is also found on the basis of their origins. The four women were regarded as foreigners and were included by Matthew to show that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, was related by ancestry, to the gentiles. • Another view is to see these women as instruments of God’s providence, because the women showed initiative or played an important role in God’s plan. Hence, these women were held up as examples of how God uses the unexpected to triumph over human obstacles and intervenes to bring to fruition his promise of the Messiah.

Matthew found something very special in these four women: their foreign origin, their unworthiness and the providential care of God. In a similar way, there is something extraordinary in Mary’s giving birth to Jesus. This ‘something extraordinary’ also indicates that God is at work. Through this, Matthew establishes that nothing is alien to God in his divine plan. He does not call the qualified but qualifies those whom he calls.

Responsorial Psalm: Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness.

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