The Birth of Mary

The birth of the Virgin – Giotto

by Anne-C. AVRIL, nds


On the Genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew

I would like to say few words on the Genealogy of Jesus and specially talk about the women who are mentioned in it to see how they prepared the birth of Mary.
Some Fathers of the Church say that Matthew introduced them in the genealogy because they were sinners, so it shows that Jesus came for the sinners…as if the men of the genealogy were all saints…In fact all those women have an exceptional destiny, and The Lord was free enough to choose the most unpredictable ways to prepare the birth of his Son. His ways are not our ways.
Tamar was ready to risk her reputation and even her life pretending to be a prostitute. In fact, intuitively she knew that the lineage of Judah could not be interrupted. The coming of the Messiah depended on it. And if Judah did not want to give her his son she had to have a child from him. She was able to go beyond her own sake and destiny and acted with courage and generosity.
Rahav also risked her life in welcoming the spies. She lied but for a good purpose,and finally thanks to her the People of Israel entered the Promise land… for the best and for the worst as we know, but if it is God’s plan it will be mysteriously for the good of all mankind.
And Ruth. Was she a gentile ? She was Moabite and Moab was the son of Lot through the incest with his daughters…But it was very far and probably she ignored it.Anyway she adopted the people of Israel as her people and the God of Israel as her God and became through her marriage with Booz the grandmother of David, ancestor of the Messiah, called the anointed of the Lord, meaning the messiah of the Lord.
Batsheva was very passive during her adventure with David, but when he was getting old, she took in her own hands the future of the Kingdom and did everything to sit her son Solomon on the throne, knowing that he had been chosen by God.
How Mary is fitting with all those women? 
Like Tamar she risked her reputation in accepting to give birth out of a relation with her husband. With faith she gave up her own projects being able to see beyond and trusting the Lord, and being totally dedicated to fulfill his will.
Like Rahab in giving birth to Jesus she allowed him to open widely the gate of the kingdom of God of whom the Promise land is a sign. Ruth is our privileged ancestor, we, most of us from the gentiles, who adopted the people of Israel as our people and the God of Israel as our God, through Jesus who opened to us the covenant of Abraham.And Mary was the instrument of this wide opening.

And Batsheva ? Again she insured the continuity of the promise in her own way, the Lord using our humanity as it is, she contributed to the future coming of the Messiah to whom Mary will give birth.
All those women have in common their ability to see beyond their own plans, to risk their life, to forget themselves in order to enter the project of God, and give life,protect life, saving life at all price. They are example of faithfulness.It is why they are in the genealogy and Mary surely was not ashamed to have them as ancestors.
I like to apply to them what the letter to the Hebrews apply to our fathers in faith. All of them died in faith without having received the promises but from distance they saw and greeted them.
Mary in faith, love and hope, received the fruit of the promise. She was a free woman, totally dedicated to do the will of the Lord in welcoming Jesus and accompanying him up to the end of his earthly journey.
And what about us: Following her and with her , who is our sister, our mother, we welcome Jesus the fruit of the promise and through our faithfulness we live and watch until it reaches its full accomplishment.

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