America is a young nation. Most of our ancestors were from somewhere else. I live in Denver, Colorado. Although I am not a native American, I refer to myself as a native because I was born here, as were my parents, and some of my grandparents. It seems like a long time – close to 100 years.
I remember when my great uncle produced a book of genealogy of my father’s side of my family. This was in the 1980 – well before genealogy.com made it easier to research one’s heritage. Like most families, there were a lot of interesting characters that my uncle turned up in his research – criminals, dignitaries, and long lines back to Europe.
In today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew, we learn the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew starts his Gospel with the recitation of the 14 generations from Jesus to King David and then recites the other 14 generations from King David to Abraham.
“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,
Matthew establishes the line from Abraham to Jesus because this is one of the many things that the scriptures foretold would be fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah. The scripture also is clear on Jesus’s understanding of his Jewish culture, laws, and tradition.
I was fortunate the year after my confirmation to visit Rome. It was there that I understood my Christian heritage. The Vatican is obviously beautiful, ornate and impressive. The Wednesday papal audience was memorable with Pope John Paul II – a story I will have to write in another blog. The city-state conveys a sense of heritage, tradition, and longevity.
One of the reasons I became Catholic is because of its tradition and the apostolic succession (i.e., unbroken line) of popes back to St. Peter. Much like the genealogy Jesus Christ, this gives me a sense of connection with the Church.
I love being Catholic because I want its tradition. I want to feel connected to something that is all-encompassing, spans thousands of years and (despite being operated by fallible humans) continues to stand the tests of time.
So when I think about the genealogy prior to the birth Jesus, it is a way for me to understand the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit within all of our lives, whether we recognize it or not.
In this 17th day of Advent, I pray to remember that as a Catholic, I am part of a 2000 year-old tradition that started 28 generations prior to the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Please give special prayers for baby Sly who was run over by an 18-wheeler truck yesterday. He lived and will face a tough road to recovery. Pray also for his parents as they recover from the emotional trauma of almost losing their son.
- Day 17 of Advent
- Today we remember St. Olympias.
- Watch a video reflection on today’s scripture readings.
- Pray the Rosary!
- Follow me on Twitter: @cinhosa
- Find me on Facebook