Monday, December 17, Fourth Week in Advent
These are the opening words of Matthews Gospel. He begins with the basics the genealogy of Jesus. It will be a long list of 48 names stretching across 2,000 years.
Matthew wants to emphasize that Jesus is the Messiah, the long-awaited Son of David who would fulfill Old Testament prophecies. Thats why he works downward from Abraham through David, to Jesus. Luke in his genealogy starts with Jesus and works upward to Adam. He wants to emphasize that Jesus is the Son of God.
Both Matthew and Luke drew upon popular traditions (rather than written records,) and both adapted the data. They are trying to establish Jesus theological identity, not his DNA.
The list of names in Jesus genealogy includes a wide variety of people not all of them perfect by any means. Jesus family had some skeletons in the closet. Probably your family is no different. Theyre still your family.
We are about a week away from Christmas. This would be a good time to mend some family ties.
Tuesday, December 18, Fourth Week in Advent
Angels play a significant role in the Christmas story of both Matthew and Luke
Belief in angels is rooted in Jewish tradition, which regarded angels as manifestations of Gods presence.
Jewish belief in angels went beyond the Scriptures and spoke of choirs (i.e. groups) of angels (a concept not found in Scripture) and names of angels. In Scripture only three names are given Michael, Gabriel, Raphael.
The Christian tradition has retained a strong belief in angels. The New Testament has more than twice as many references to angels as the Old Testament. However, in the Gospels, angels appear and speak only in the Infancy Narrative and at the empty tomb.
The Church has made few pronouncements about angels. It teaches that angels are created beings (not mini-gods) that they are personal (not simply forces) and that they do not have a material body (though when necessary they can appear in a human form.)
The word angel is a Greek translation of a Hebrew word meaning messenger.