Romans 8:28-30 or Micah 5:1-4Isaiah 13:6ab, 6c (with 61:10)Matt 1:1-16, 18-23www.usccb.org/bible/readings/090817.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_09_08.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.
David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.
After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
Good News Reflection: God writes straight with crooked lines
The genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew reads like a boring list of names. But to the Jews who knew the stories of the people being named, it was like being reminded of the interweaving story arcs of a television series. The story includes fascinating characters, significant historical figures, and scandalous sinners. It illustrates that “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose,” as Romans 8:28-30 states. Or to say it another way: God writes straight with crooked lines.
Take, for example, the story of Jacob. He’s near the top of the genealogical list, but he wasn’t supposed to be on the list at all. He was not the first-born of his family. His family’s heritage was supposed to have been passed on through his twin brother, Essau, but Jacob tricked Essau into selling his birthright. Not a very nice thing for a brother to do! And yet, from Jacob’s seed came the Messiah.
Amazing. Imagine if Jacob had been a nice guy. Essau would have become the patriarch of the family. At the end of Jacob’s genealogical line is Joseph, the husband of Mary. If Jacob had not stolen the heritage from Essau, the genealogical line would have gone off in a different direction. Would God still have put Joseph and Mary together?
I cannot claim to know the answer to that, but I do know that God writes straight with crooked lines. His will is sovereign and always gets accomplished, eventually, one way or another.
Take for example our own stories. I’m sure there are twisted branches in your ancestral tree due to the sins of some of your relatives. My great-grandfather, who was married and had two kids, abandoned his family, secretly married another woman without divorcing his first wife, and had children by her, one of whom was my grandmother, who eventually gave birth to my mother, who eventually gave birth to me.
If Great-Granddad had been a nice guy to his first family, would I exist? Would I be here writing these Good News Reflections? Would your life be different?
God writes straight with crooked lines. Children conceived out of wedlock are written into God’s plans in marvelous ways, even children conceived by rape. Every life is precious to God. No one is a mistake, not even deformed or short-lived children. God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him and respond to his calling to serve his purposes.
You have been called. Do not worry about things that go wrong, for once you turn it over to the Lord, he will develop awesome plans despite them — or maybe even because of them.
My Lord, help me to trust You beyond appearances and circumstances. Give me the grace of imitating Blessed Mary, keeping and pondering in my heart whatever happens to me, with my eyes fixed on You. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica