Nativity of the Lord – Year C

Posté par diaconos le 20 décembre 2021

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Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea

From the Gospel of Jesus Christdin accorg to St Matthew

Genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob, Jacob begat Judah and his brothers, Judah, from his union with Tamar, begat Phares and Zara, Phares begat Esrom, Esrom begat Aram, Aram begat Aminadab, Aminadab begat Naasson, Naasson begat Salmon, Salmon, from his union with Rahab, begat Boaz, Boaz, from his union with Ruth, begat Jobed, Jobed begat Jesse, Jesse begat King David. David begat Solomon by his wife Uriah, Solomon begat Rehoboam, Rehoboam begat Abia, Abia begat Asa, Asa begat Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begat Jehoram, Jehoram begat Uzziah, Uzziah begat Jehoatham, and Jehoatham became the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh became the father of Amon, and Amon became the father of Josiah, and Josiah became the father of Jekoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.

So the total number of generations is: from Abraham to David, fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to Christ, fourteen generations. This is how Jesus Christ was born: Mary, his mother, was given in marriage to Joseph; before they lived together, she became pregnant by the work of the Lord.

Human and divine origin of the Messiah

The purpose of Matthew’s Gospel is to show the intimate and living relationship of the two covenants, to show in Jesus Christ the fulfilment of the whole history of his people. This purpose was manifested by Matthew from the very first lines of his book, with that genealogy whose meaning is marked first of all by the two great names of David and Abraham; David, into whose family, according to prophecy, would be born the one whose kingship would be eternal.

Abraham, in whose seed all the families of the earth were to be blessed, a promise that has no meaning or fulfilment except in Jesus Christ. The Son of God came to take his place in this seed of Abraham and in our humanity, which he was to renew. If it had only been a matter of bringing new revelations to the world, a long series of traditions would have sufficed, and perhaps we would have found here, instead of a genealogy, a catalogue of the books of the Old Testament.

But the blessing promised to Abraham was to be realised in his posterity and to consist in a new creation, begun in the very person of the Deliverer. Hence a genealogy that aims not only to establish his historical filiation. Going back to David and Abraham, Matthew also indicated the genealogical origin of Mary, mother of Jesus. He stated that David’s son, Abraham’s son, descended from these figures through his mother, since Joseph had no father.

But having achieved this first goal, Joseph’s genealogy was of no use to the Israelites. Throughout his life, Jesus was regarded as the son of Joseph, and had to be so by virtue of the highest properties. But, moreover, there was substance in this view, that Joseph gave his adopted son a theocratic legal right to kingship, firstly because he himself was a descendant of David, and secondly because, by marrying Mary, who was heir to the family name, he legally entered his wife’s line and took her name.

Matthew’s purpose was to establish the dual origin of Jesus Christ, as revealed by the New Testament testimony, and at the same time his supernatural birth. Christ, in Hebrew Maschiah, means Anointed One. This name indicated royal dignity in the Old Testament, because kings were anointed with oil, the symbol of the Spirit of God, and were thus consecrated for their office. The same was true for priests and prophets.

Jesus Christ, who, in order to realise the idea of the old covenant in the new, performed these three offices, was the Lord’s anointed. He himself, by preaching from the beginning of his ministry a kingdom of God of which he was the Head, gave this notion all its truth and spirituality. Thus, in his Church, the title Christ gradually became a proper name.

After the Babylonian exile, Jekonias begat Salathiel, Salathiel begat Zorobabel, Zorobabel begat Abiud, Abiud begat Eliakim, Eliakim begat Azor, Azor begat Sadok, Sadok begat Akim, Akim begat Elioud, Elioud begat Eleazar, Eleazar begat Mattana, Mattana begat Jacob, Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was begotten Jesus, who is called Christ.

So the total number of generations is: from Abraham to David, fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to Christ, fourteen generations. This is how Jesus Christ was born: Mary, his mother, was given in marriage to Joseph; before they lived together, she became pregnant by his hand.

It was not without intention that the sacred writers called him Jesus, the Christ, or gave him the double name of Jesus Christ, as Matthew did from the first line. Exegetes have been concerned to find the division according to which Matthew established these three series of fourteen generations. The generations of the first period, from Abraham to David, have been listed without omission; there are fourteen.

In the second period, Matthew subtracted four kings of Judah: Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, between Jehoram and Uzziah, Joachim, between Josiah and Jechonias. Another peculiarity of this genealogy is the mention of four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bath-sheba.

Matthew’s intention was to emphasise that these women were admitted only by a very exceptional dispensation to the honour of being counted among the ancestors of Jesus; their situation seemed to exclude them absolutely. The economy of grace was thus shown in germ in the Old Covenant.

Matthew’s purpose was to establish the dual origin of Jesus Christ, as revealed by the New Testament testimony, and at the same time his supernatural birth. Christ, in Hebrew Maschiah, means Anointed One. This name indicated royal dignity in the Old Testament, because kings were anointed with oil, the symbol of the Spirit of God, and were thus consecrated for their office. The same was true for priests and prophets.

Jesus Christ, who, in order to realise the idea of the old covenant in the new, performed these three offices, was the Lord’s anointed. He himself, by preaching from the beginning of his ministry a kingdom of God of which he was the Head, gave this notion all its truth and spirituality. Thus, in his Church, the title Christ gradually became a proper name.

After the Babylonian exile, Jekonias begat Salathiel, Salathiel begat Zorobabel, Zorobabel begat Abiud, Abiud begat Eliakim, Eliakim begat Azor, Azor begat Sadok, Sadok begat Akim, Akim begat Elioud, Elioud begat Eleazar, Eleazar begat Mattana, Mattana begat Jacob, Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was begotten Jesus, who is called Christ.

When Joseph saw that Mary, his fiancée, was pregnant, he decided to repudiate her in secret. But an angel revealed to him in a dream the mystery of this conception, which came from the Holy Spirit, and commanded him to name the child born of Mary Jesus, for he would be the Saviour. Matthew showed in this event the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the Immanuel. Joseph obeyed, took Mary as his wife, but did not know her until the birth of Jesus.

 After this great chastisement, a new period of fourteen generations had come to an end: did we not have the right to expect some extraordinary event, or even the coming of the one who was to restore the throne of David? Was not the appearance of Jesus at this precise moment in history proof to the believing Israelite that he was indeed the Christ announced by the prophets ?

All the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David to the Babylonian deportation, fourteen generations; and from the Babylonian deportation to Christ, fourteen generations. The quality of righteousness attributed to Joseph imposed on his conscience two contradictory duties, sources of painful struggles.

On the one hand, he could not marry Mary, not knowing or not believing in the mystery of her pregnancy; on the other, he did not want to expose her publicly to ignominy, much less to the rigours of the law, which pronounced the death penalty in this case. He decided to separate from her in secret.

When Joseph saw that Mary, his fiancée, was pregnant, he decided to repudiate her in secret. But an angel revealed to him in a dream the mystery of this conception, which came from the Holy Spirit, and ordered him to name the child born of Mary Jesus, because he would be the Saviour. Matthew showed in this event the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the Immanuel. Joseph obeyed, took Mary as his wife, but did not know her until the birth of Jesus.

fAter this great chastisement, a new period of fourteen generations had come to an end: did we not have the right to expect some extraordinary event, or even the coming of the one who was to restore the throne of David? Was not the appearance of Jesus at this precise moment in history proof to the believing Israelite that he was indeed the Christ announced by the prophets ?

 All the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David to the Babylonian deportation, fourteen generations; and from the Babylonian deportation to Christ, fourteen generations. The quality of righteousness attributed to Joseph imposed on his conscience two contradictory duties, sources of painful struggles

. On the one hand, he could not marry Mary, not knowing or not believing in the mystery of her pregnancy; on the other, he did not want to expose her publicly to ignominy, much less to the rigours of the law, which pronounced the death penalty in this case. He decided to separate from her in secret.

This term son of David reminded Joseph of the promises made to the house of this king of Israel that were fulfilled. His faith in the Word of God helped him in his doubts. He married her publicly, according to customary ceremony. Among the Jews, betrothal was considered equivalent to marriage. This divine fact, indicated by Matthew, was revealed to Joseph by an angel of God, with the special purpose of removing all his doubts. The Holy Spirit indicates the efficient cause of Jesus’ human existence.

This Spirit of God who moved upon the waters of chaos to create life and harmony, this Spirit, the source of all existence, was, by an act of his own creative power, the agent of the miracle. In this way, Mary would have escaped the penalty of the law and a public trial, but not the obscurity of her situation. Was she humbly resigned to God’s will and abandoned by Him in this trial? No, God had to send an angel from heaven for her deliverance and the fulfilment of his plans, and he did.

Among the Jews, betrothal was considered equivalent to marriage. This divine fact, indicated by Matthew, was revealed to Joseph by an angel of God, with the special purpose of removing all his doubts. The Holy Spirit indicates the efficient cause of Jesus’ human existence. This Spirit of God who moved upon the waters of chaos to create life and harmony, this Spirit, the source of all existence, was, by an act of his own creative power, the agent of the miracle.

In this way, Mary would have escaped the penalty of the law and a public trial, but not the obscurity of her situation. Was she humbly resigned to God’s will and abandoned by Him in this trial? No, God had to send an angel from heaven for her deliverance and the fulfilment of his plans, and he did.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Christmas :  click here to read the paper →  HOMILY FOR THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD

◊  Catholic Productions  :  click here to read the paper →  The Nativity of the Lord, Year C 

♥ Homily fot Christmas Day Mass

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