Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Truth

Today we get one of my favorite gospel readings, the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew's gospel. On the surface it seems like just a list of names but behind each name there is a story.

The Old Testament begins with the creation of the world in an orderly procession of 7 days, 7 being the perfect number. Matthew divides history into three equal parts Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian Exile, the Babylonian Exile to Jesus, each section 14 (2x7) Generations.

But what is most important are the people Matthew chooses to include, it is not a litany of the saints. Many of the people have stories filled with sin. How often do we see Jesus referred to as Son of David? And yet, Matthew makes a point of reminding us that the son of David in the genealogy is Solomon whose mother was the wife of Uriah. Solomon was a bastard son born of murder and adultery. Matthew hangs the sin and brokenness out there for the world to see. He doesn't let the bad erase the good, nor does he gloss over the bad. He reminds us of both. Matthew's genealogy reminds us of all that is human.

The good news is that from Abraham to Jesus no matter how many twists and turns there are in the road; it ends up right where God intended, the Birth of the Messiah. What may be for us the bad news is that it takes 42 generations to get there—God's time.

As we moves through the ups and downs of life we should never loose hope. Yes we are all called to be saints, but as Pope Francis teaches us "holiness is not just a collection of virtues...Holiness means walking in the presence of God."

In those moments when we feel like giving up, let us remember the checkered genealogy of Matthew's gospel, and place our faith not in ourselves but in God and walk always in his presence.