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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of Lazarus of Bethany. Prayer for all those who are gravely ill and for the dying. Memory of those who have died of AIDS.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 1,1-17

Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,

Judah fathered Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,

Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,

Salmon fathered Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse;

and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,

Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,

Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,

Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,

Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah;

and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers. Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,

Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,

Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob;

and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This passage, which starts the narration of the Gospel according to Matthew, leads us to the threshold of Christmas. The evangelist opens his passage with a description of the genealogy of Jesus. Different from the Gospel of John, which opens with the description of the divine origins of Jesus, Matthew and Luke present his human genealogy, even if different names appear in their listings (the two lists, from David to Joseph, coincide only in two names). But this is because Matthew chooses the dynastic instead of the natural succession, which in turn is preferred by Luke. Through the list of these names, Matthew wants to lead the readers to discover that Jesus is "the son of David" and "the son of Abraham," two titles that present Jesus as the fulfilment of the promise of God. The plan of salvation that God is implementing is not born suddenly. The Lord has begun to prepare his plan from Abraham and David. Through the succession of generations, the Lord has guided the history of Israel until its completion: "Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah." This Gospel, which at a first glance may appear like a dry list of names, in truth, reminds us that Jesus does not live outside of human history, Jesus is not an abstract myth, Jesus is not outside the limits of humanity, indeed, just being inside it, Jesus is its fulfilment. In Jesus, every generation finds solace and salvation, he is not the prerogative of a particular culture, or of a particular race, or of a single civilization. As the apostle Paul writes, Jesus reassumes in himself everything. It is not a coincidence, then, that the genealogy also reveals the presence of some pagan women, like Ruth and Racab, or women who are guilty of misconduct, like Tamar and Uriah’s wife. Jesus is the "king" of Israel and of all human beings. Jesus is the one who saves and redeems, he is vertex of the story. Therefore, in that list, we can add our names and those of our loved or of the people that we meet. The Lord has chosen to walk beside us; the Lord is truly the Emmanuel, God with us.

Memory of the Church