In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Last Sunday the Church commemorated all the righteous of the Old Testament who awaited the coming of Christ. Today, the Sunday before the Birth of Christ on earth, the Church remembers all those in the Old Testament who were related to Christ by blood and those who spoke of His Birth as a man. That is why today we have read Christ’s family tree from the Gospel of St Matthew.
In this way the Church shows us that Christ really became a man, that the Son of God really took on human nature. He was not a ghost, an apparition, a myth, a distant imagined god, the abstract god of philosophers. Such a god does not have a family tree. Our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has flesh and blood, human ancestors, many of whom sinned greatly, but like David, also repented greatly. By taking on human nature, the Son of God became like us in all ways, in flesh and blood, in tears and sweat, in mind and soul, in heart and will, He differed from us in only one way, He did not sin. Since we know that Christ’s human nature remained sinless, He shows us the way that we too can go in order to strive to avoid sin and so improve and transform our failing human nature.
However, the fact that Christ took on human nature and has a family tree, has another meaning too. Christ is descended from Adam through Abraham and David, through His ancestors Joachim and Anne – in His human nature He is therefore related to us and we are related to Him. He is a cousin of our ancestors. He is one of our own forebears. He is our kith and kin and we are His kith and kin, we belong to the same family. It is now that we understand that with Christ we belong to a family, a family of saints and sinners, but a family of which he is the Head and we are His children, the children of Mother Church and Father God. And believing in the Fatherhood of God, we believe in the Brotherhood of Man.
Holy Fathers of Christ, pray to God for us!