A New Interest In Genealogy

17 December - Advent

Gen. 49:2, 8-10 & Mt. 1:1-17

Many people are interested in tracing their roots and learning something of their ancestry. Most of us would like to know where we came from and what factors conspired to make us who we are.

Our Gospel today traces the genealogy of Jesus, on Joseph’s side of the family, through forty two generations all the way back to Abraham. That covers a period of some two thousand years. The record is sketchy, but the information is interesting. The list contains the great names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. In the reading from Genesis, Jacob singles out his son Judah, the great grandson of Abraham, because from him will come the Saviour. To Judah will be give the sceptre, the emblem of kingship, and the staff, the mark of authority.

Many of those mentioned in Jesus’ family tree are ordinary people. There are a few scoundrels and even one prostitute, Rahab, of the city of Jericho.

I wonder what we would find in forty two generations of our family’s past? No doubt there would be all kinds of people just as there were in the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew compiled this list to prove that Jesus was a descendant of David and so fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah was to be born of David’s line.

A genealogy can remind us of our own debt to the past. A lot of people have played a significant part in who we are today. Much of the good that we do could be attributable to the good example and the strong faith of our parents, grandparents and many who have gone before us. But this reading also reminds us that we are not bound by the past. Whether our ancestors have been of good or bad, we are still at liberty to be what God wants us to be.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the good in our ancestors who have molded us and made us the people we are today. May we be an inspiration to future generations.