Prayer for peace

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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

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

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

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Starting today the liturgy helps us to get closer to the mystery of Christmas. In these next days we will be presented with passages from the gospels of Jesus’ childhood that are reported solely by Matthew and Luke. Different from the Gospel of John, which opens with the description of the divine origins of Jesus, and from Mark who starts it with the preaching of John the Baptist, Matthew and Luke describe some episodes of the birth and childhood of Jesus. Matthew opens his Gospel with the recitation of the genealogical tree of Jesus. Luke reports his genealogy too but only at the end of chapter three. The two lists are different, from David to Joseph, and coincide only in two names. But this is because Matthew chooses the dynastic instead of the natural succession, which is preferred by Luke. Through the list of these names, Matthew wants to lead 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 and has its apex in the birth of Jesus is not improvised. The Lord has begun to prepare his plan from long ago, 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, reminds us that Jesus does not live outside of human history, indeed, by just being inside it Jesus is its fulfilment. It is not without meaning that in Matthew’s list after the names that go from Abraham to David (vv. 1-11) only the first two (Salathiel and Zerubbabel) and the last two (Joseph and Mary) are known while the others are unknown. Though they did not do any extraordinary deed, they are part of the story of the love of God. If this was true for them, it can also be true for us. In Jesus, every generation can find solace and salvation; he is not the prerogative of a particular culture, or of a particular race, or of a single civilization. Whoever follows him belongs to the great story of God. As the apostle Paul writes, Jesus re-assumes in himself everything. It is not a coincidence, then, that the genealogy also reveals the presence of some pagan women, like Ruth and Rahab, 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 the just and the sinner, men and women, no one is excluded from his mercy. The only condition is to welcome it. Therefore, in the genealogy of Matthew, if we want, we can add our names and those of our loved ones or of the people we meet. The Lord has chosen to walk beside us; the Lord is truly the Emmanuel, God with us.