September 8, 2015
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mt 1: 1-16. 18-23
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-translation
The long form of today’s Gospel offers Jesus’ geneology: “Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz…” The names, most of them unfamiliar,usually tumble past me, threatening to break down into meaningless syllables sweeping past me like trees alongside a highway, undifferentiated, unnoticed. Except one thing: every name is a story, a person with joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, worries, fears, doubts, expectations, triumphs, contentments. Every name is a sacred story.
Whether the names of Jesus’ ancestors or the names of my students, colleagues, friends, each name stands for a sacred story, much of it hidden from me. And when I remember that, the Gospel urges me to pay attention so that I can see that “God with us” is the story of Jesus alive and active, laboring in the hearts of these hidden, sacred stories to draw ever nearer to them.
—Matthew Spotts, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching history and religion at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Indianapolis IN.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
You are blessed among all women,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the fruit of your womb.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!