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The genealogy of Jesus

Gospel Reading: Mt 1:1-17
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. … 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. … 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. … 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. 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.

The number fourteen is the numerical value of the name of King David. In the Hebrew alphabet, D (daleth) is equivalent to 4; V (vav), to 6. So the sum of 4+6+4 (D+V+D), without the vowels for they had none before, is 14.

Matthew wants to introduce Jesus as coming from the lineage of King David, from a royal family. In David’s administration, the whole Israel experienced unprecedented peace. As David’s descendant, Jesus will perpetuate his dynasty as promised by God. He is expected to be powerful like David and will govern with justice and righteousness.

The three sets of 14 generations are not necessarily equal in time span. The first 14 spans a thousand years, while the last two only 500 years each, more or less. We should not take the computations literally. Important to note in the genealogy is the fact that Jesus who is conceived by the Holy Spirit belongs to the human community. The names mentioned are of either good persons or plain sinners, imperfect human beings. Through baptism, we are incorporated into the lineage of Jesus. If we are faithful to our vocation, we continue the mission of Jesus.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.