Today marks a shift in the readings. Up until this point during the season of Advent we have been focused on the second coming of Jesus. Starting today, we shift gears in the readings to focus on the commemoration of the birthday of Jesus. in other words, we are now seeking to remember more specifically the celebration of Christmas. And so, today we seek to understand the reason for the long genealogy of Jesus present in today’s gospel.
Matthew and Luke, the two evangelists that have genealogies in their Gospels, have different purposes for accounting and recollecting the family history of Jesus. For Matthew, whose gospel we heard today, the point that he is trying to make, concerns connecting Jesus to the beginning of time. From the first moments of the fall, God intends a remedy for sin. From the first moments of the fall, which occurred because of our deliberate rejection of God, God moves quickly to remind us of his powerful love, not just evident when we do well, but also gently calling us back to mercy and forgiveness when we do not.
The other interesting concept of the genealogy presented to us in the gospel of Matthew is that when we look at Jesus relatives, we discover they are not all that much different than our own. The list we hear today we learn that Jesus in his family had wonderful role models to look up to, infamous relatives who might best be avoided, and the vast majority who fell somewhere in between. Is not too much unlike our own family.
The purpose in writing the genealogy in the gospel, really is not that much different from the purpose of our celebrating those great holidays, and the holy days, that help us to remember the profound events of God during salvation history. But more importantly, these events serve as a striking reminder that just as God has done throughout the ages, so to God does today.