Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jesus Christ, Son of David and Abraham

By Beth DeCristofaro

Jacob called his sons and said to them: “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, listen to Israel, your father.  “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise Genesis 49:2, 8)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. … Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:1, 17)

Behold the Desired of all the nations will come, and the house of the Lord will be filled with glory. (Communion Antiphon, Liturgy of the Day)

Researching the family tree is popular right now.  My good friend Don is an ordained Methodist minister who discovered that in medieval England he had an Abbot and an Anglican nun in his family.  Are there “spiritual” traits that can be inherited he wonders?

Jesus’ genealogy is apparently not a completely historical document but it presents Jesus as deeply rooted in history and fulfilling sacred prophecies of Israel’s spiritual life. In the list of names you will find holy people such as Solomon and Ruth but also those more infamous such as poor Bathsheba who doesn’t even have her name mentioned (she is called the wife of Uriah).  Jesus is the product of very human humans:  the strong, the weak, the courageous, the victimized, just as you and I. 

Today, we pray litanies to the holy ones who are make up our family tree of faith.  We pray for intercession and guidance.  We are reminded that humans have answered the call to holiness and so can we.  We are offered that they stand with us today and, even if no one ever names us in a litany or even remembers our name three generations from now, we will join them in the Communion of Saints with Jesus, son of David and son of Abraham.

Today, pray your favorite litany and imagine the company with whom you stand.  Or take a minute and enjoy several verses of a wonderful “Litany of Light” by Dominican Friars Dominic DeLay and John Paul Forté on their cd Maintain the Light by Black & White.  Their heartening melody and naming of so many uplifting saints often keep me company as I drive the region for my job.

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