An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today we celebrate the birth of Mary, “of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.” While the readings are a lot to wade through, they reveal Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy and the son of David, the son of Abraham. They also reveal Jesus as the son of Mary.
Mary’s birth prepared the way for the birth of Jesus.
Taken on its own, that’s quite a statement. But the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy are both pivotal to our faith and a miracle to be endlessly pondered.
If I place myself in Mary’s position, I am overcome with worry. With child before marriage? A child conceived of the Holy Spirit? A child who shall be named Jesus, who will save people from their sins? Why me?
At first I imagine Mary as being earnest—praying and relying on her faith to make sense of everything. But in reading the short portion of the Psalm for today and reflecting on the Magnificat, I get a much different sense. Mary seems free. Maybe it was freedom, not earnestness, that allowed her to say yes to her special mission. And by saying yes in freedom, Mary helps free us all.
In your own life, when do you say yes out of duty and earnestness? What would saying yes out of freedom look like instead? What holds you back from a freer yes?
—Elizabeth Collier has degrees from three different Jesuit universities, including a PhD in Christian Ethics from Loyola University Chicago. She teaches at Dominican University in River Forest, IL.
Loving God, Send a Spirit of Freedom upon your faithful people So we may respond more fully to your call And serve you more faithfully.
AmenPlease share the Good Word with your friends!