The Genealogy of Jesus
We are in the season where the genealogies of Jesus are read at Mass. Admittedly, this reading of a long list of virtually unpronounceable name of unrecognizable people (with a few exceptions such as Abraham and David) is one of the most boring of reading. And yet these lists of begetters, these people who have passed on life throughout the Bible, are the most important structural elements of the Scriptures.
Two things are demonstrated in the genealogies. First, we are all descended from the one man Adam (see 1 Cor 15:22). What happened in the beginning is still with us to-day, both the good and the ill. Every human being carries the image of God. Adam was made in His image and through procreation, each new born child also is made in that image. But also, as the first man fell, so we are all fallen. We are born with original sin because of our organic connection to Adam. The whole of humanity is separated from God because of mankind’s initial turning from God. All of this is passed on organically ‘from the beginning’.
But secondly, the blessing (which is linked to salvation) is also tied up with the Biblical generations. Starting with Abraham, God placed into the world “the blessing” which ultimately effected the salvation of the world. In Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed and so his family line became the line of salvation (see Gen 12:1-3). Through each successive generation this blessing was handed down until Jesus, who is part of this genealogy, appears. After Jesus, there are n o more mention of genealogies. Finally, with Him, the blessing which would save the world is realized. But it will take His incarnation, His Passion, death and Resurrection to achieve it.
Each part of the genealogy is important because each moment of passing on life in this salvific chain secured the ultimate coming of Christ. The great invitation to the world is that we are all invited to become a part of this genealogy and this family through baptism. “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:29)