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Friday, December 17, 2004

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Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Psalm 72
Matthew 1:1-17

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jesus' family tree: the tree of life

"A family record of Jesus Christ..." —Matthew 1:1

The world has been putting up Christmas trees the last few weeks. Today, the Church, in her Gospel, puts up another Christmas tree: Jesus' family tree.

In the past when today's Gospel reading was proclaimed, I have watched people listening to the genealogy. People started yawning, looking around, and growing restless hearing that father begat son who begat grandson, etc. People may get bored with Jesus' family tree, but Jesus is lovingly attentive to it. Just as we fondly and painstakingly decorate every branch of our own Christmas tree, leaving no untended, "ugly" areas, so Jesus loves and adorns each branch of His family tree. All the people in His tree are precious to Him and beloved by Him.

At our Baptism, we were adopted into Jesus' family. We are now members of His family tree. Now these nondescript names and faces such as Azor and Eliud (Mt 1:14) come alive for us — because both we and they are related to Jesus.

Genealogies often deal with death. Most of the people listed on a family tree are dead. In Jesus' family tree, however, "all are alive for Him" (Lk 20:38). His family tree has become "the tree of life" (see Gn 2:9). We have been grafted into His family tree (Rm 11:17) and now live as its branches (Jn 15:5).

This Advent and Christmas, when you look at a Christmas tree, see yourself as part of Jesus' family tree.

Prayer:  Father, let me see all things only as they relate to Jesus.

Promise:  "The scepter shall never depart from Judah." —Gn 49:10

Praise:  "O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, You govern all creation with Your strong yet tender care. Come and show Your people the way to salvation."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004