I have a very good friend who I has helping me greatly in tracing some of my family tree on the Charlton side. One of my relatives was a pub landlord in the east end of London and another, much further back, was coachman at a posh house in Northumberland. No real scandals were unearthed.
Todays Gospel gives us the family tree of Jesus. Among the women named in his list were no exactly the kind of people most of us would be proud to claim as our ancestors. There was Tamar who deceived her father-in-law, Judah into an incestuous union. There was Rahab who was a prostitute and we all know about Solomons mother, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. David had Uriah killed after making Bethesda pregnant.
It is interesting that Matthew could have hidden these names, but as Fr Miller and Grindel in their commentary says, “Matthew chose to open the door for us to peek in. Precisely why he did so was not at all clear…Perhaps Matthew had in mind the fact that the Saviour would be known as a friend of publicans and sinners, that he himself would declare that he had been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
This family tree of Jesus shows that Jesus was truly human, truly one of us. Pope Leo the Great in his commentary says. “For unless the new man (Jesus), by being made in the likeness of sinful flesh, had taken on himself the nature of our first parents, unless he had stopped to be one in substance with his mother while sharing in the Father’s substance and, being alone free from sin, united our nature to his, the whole human race would still be held captive under the Dominican of Satan”
This is the wonderful good news that in this last week of Advent we are preparing to celebrate. Jesus was born to save all of us. He is one of us in all things except sin. He is truly our brother. Prepare to welcome him into your heart and be transformed.