The Genealogy of Jesus

January 6, 2023
Christmas Weekday of January 6
Readings for Today

Saint André Bessette, Religious—USA Optional Memorial

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When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Melea… Luke 3:32–24

One of the two options for today’s Gospel is the genealogy of Jesus according to Saint Luke. Recall that Matthew’s Gospel also shares a genealogy of Jesus. Matthew’s version might be more familiar since it comes at the very beginning of his Gospel. Though the two genealogies differ significantly for various reasons, they both have the goal of tracing Jesus’ lineage. Luke inserts the genealogy of Jesus in Chapter Three of his Gospel, after Jesus is baptized and just before His public ministry. He presents the genealogy in ascending order, starting with Jesus and ending with Adam, identifying seventy-seven generations. Matthew presents the genealogy in descending order, beginning with Abraham and concluding with Jesus, identifying forty-one generations.

Saint Augustine, in commenting upon Luke’s genealogy, points out that Luke identifies seventy-seven generations because Jesus states that we must forgive seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:21–22). Furthermore, since Jesus had just entered the waters of baptism, Augustine sees this as a way of saying that the Sacrament of Baptism offers all people of all times the unlimited gift of the forgiveness of sins.

Perhaps one of the most important reflections we can take from either of Jesus’ genealogies is the fact that He came to give us the gift of new life as the new Adam. His gift of baptism is a way of starting over with fallen humanity. From the time of our creation, we sinned. Adam and Eve sinned. And all generations to follow have sinned. Thus, in Christ, through Baptism, we are able to begin again, to be born again, and to be transformed from the natural fallen order to the supernatural order of grace.

We will soon celebrate the Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord. After that, we enter into the beginning of Ordinary Time when we ponder the public ministry of Jesus. As we do so, we must regularly remind ourselves of the reason Jesus came. He did not come simply to inspire us or to teach us His wisdom. Rather, He came to save fallen humanity in accord with the perfect plan of the Father. The Father’s plan began at the beginning of time when humanity fell from grace. From there, the Father prepared the world for the coming of His divine Son through generation after generation of prophets, priests and kings. Slowly, He revealed His plan of salvation until it came to fruition and perfection in the Person of His Beloved Son.

Reflect, today, upon the eternal plan of the Father to save us from sin by sending His divine Son as our Savior. The plan, spanning many generations from the beginning of time, will continue to unfold until the end of time when Jesus will return in splendor and glory. Spend time pondering this incredible plan and incredible gift you have been given. As you do, seek to foster the deepest gratitude in your heart.

Jesus, my Savior, I do thank You for the unfathomable gift You have given me. You took on our fallen human nature and transformed it by this unity of Your divinity and humanity. You died for my sins and the sins of all who turn to You, and You opened the doors to Heaven. May I always grow more deeply in gratitude for all You have done for us. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Saint of the Day – Saint André Bessette, Religious—USA Optional Memorial

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Featured image above: Eastern Orthodox icon of Jesus Christ as the True Vine, via Wikimedia Commons

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