First Reading: From the Book of Micah 5:1-4
1 But you (Bethlehem) Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, from you will come for me a future ruler of Israel whose origins go back to the distant past, to the days of old.
2 Hence Yahweh will abandon them only until she who is in labour gives birth, and then those who survive of his race will be reunited to the Israelites.
3 He will take his stand and he will shepherd them with the power of Yahweh, with the majesty of the name of his God, and they will be secure, for his greatness will extend henceforth to the most distant parts of the country.
4 He himself will be peace! Should the Assyrian invade our country, should he set foot in our land, we shall raise seven shepherds against him, eight leaders of men;
Responsorial Psalm: From Psalms 13:6, 6
6 But I trust in your mercy, Grant my heart joy in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has dealt bountifully with me!
Gospel Reading: From the Gospel Account of St. Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23
1 Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:
2 Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah fathered Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,
4 Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,
5 Salmon fathered Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse;
6 and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,
8 Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,
9 Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah;
11 and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place.
12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,
14 Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,
15 Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob;
16 and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
18 This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19 Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally.
20 He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’
22 Now all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
23 Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’.
Theme: Mary’s call to be the Mother of Jesus the Savior
Do you rejoice in the promises of God and trust in his saving plan for your life? There is a long venerable tradition among many Christians of celebrating the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus our Savior, on this day. Her birth prepared for our redemption in Jesus Christ. Matthew begins his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham’s lineage through the line of David, King of Israel. Matthew concludes his genealogy by indicating that both Mary, Jesus’ mother and Joseph, his legal foster father, came from the line of David.
Do you believe and trust in God’s promises?
Mary was asked to assume in faith a burden of tremendous responsibility. It had never been heard of before that a child could be born without a natural father. Mary was asked to accept this miraculous exception to the laws of nature. That required faith and trust. Second, Mary was not yet married. Pregnancy outside of wedlock was not tolerated in those days. Mary was only espoused to Joseph, and such an engagement had to last for a whole year. She was asked to assume a great risk. She could have been rejected by Joseph, by her family, by all her own people. Mary knew that Joseph and her family would not understand without revelation from God. She nonetheless believed and trusted in God’s promises.
Joseph, a just and God-fearing man, believed the message given to him to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah. Like Mary, Joseph is a model of faith for us. He is a faithful witness and servant of God’s unfolding plan of redemption. Are you willing to trust and obey the Lord as Mary and Joseph did?
Jesus the Messiah is a direct descendant of King David and Abraham
What is the significance of Matthew’s genealogy? His genealogy is arranged in three sections portraying three great stages in the spiritual history of the people of the old covenant. The first stage begins with Abraham, the father of the chosen people, and ends with David, God’s anointed King. The second stage takes us to the exile of God’s people in Babylon. This is the period of Israel’s shame and disaster due to her unfaithfulness.
The third stage takes us to Jesus, God’s anointed Messiah. Jesus the Messiah is the direct descent of Abraham and David, and the rightful heir to David’s throne. God in his mercy fulfilled his promises to Abraham and to David that he would send a Savior and a King to rule over the house of Israel and to deliver them from their enemies.
Jesus the Savior is the fulfillment of God’s promises to us
Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He is the hope not only for the people of the Old Covenant but for all nations as well. He is the Savior of the world. In him we receive adoption into a royal priesthood and holy nation as sons and daughters of the living God (see 1 Peter 1:9). Do you recognize your spiritual genealogy and do you accept God as your Father and Jesus as the sovereign King and Lord of your life?
“Lord Jesus, you came to save us from the power of sin and death and give us abundant everlasting life in your kingdom. May I always rejoice in your saving work and trust in your plan for my life”.