Sunday before the Nativity of Our Lord

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“Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in Her. She will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

In the Gospel reading for the Sunday before the Nativity of Our Lord we hear of the genealogy or family tree of Jesus. It was foretold that the Messiah come be a descendant of King David and the genealogy attests that  Jesus is born, a descendant of the royal House of King David. The Gospel of St. Matthew refers to Jesus Christ as the son of David, the son of Abraham. The Evangelist Matthew states that “the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” (1:17) The significance of the number “fourteen (14) is probably because fourteen is the numerical value of the Hebrew letters forming the name of David. There is a corresponding number to the Hebrew letters of the word “DAVID” in Hebrew. When you total the numerical value of the Hebrew word for David the sum or total when added equals fourteen.

The genealogy includes not only men, but four women, namely, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathseba. The family lineage of Jesus includes both saints and sinners. David himself had greviously sinned against the fifth and sixth commandments, which state you shall not kill and you shall not commit adultery. But David had shown great remorse for his sin and sought the mercy of God. Also, of the four women mentioned, Ruth is the only one who had lived in a righteous manner, the other three lived somewhat immoral lives. The weakness and sinfulness of our common humanity is well apparent, even in the lives of the Lord Jesus’ ancestors. The approach is honesty and transparency.

The Gospel of Matthew then gives us an account of the Nativity of Our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Birth of Christ fulfills the promise by God through the prophets. Joseph was a righteous man and was bethrothed (engaged) to Mary from Nazareth. In a dream an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and relayed to him the news, saying: “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in Her.” The One of Whom the Prophets foretold will be born. His name will be JESUS. He will save His people from their sins.  He is Immanuel, God-is-with-us. When Joseph awoke from the dream, he did as the angel of the Lord instructed.

The Lord God is forever faithful to His covenant, first made with Abraham, that He would be their God and the Israelites of the Old Testament would be His people. God made a promise after the fall of Adam and Eve and He kept His Promise. God Eternal, the Only-Begotten Son of God becomes man, one of us. This is done out of Love for us. The Christ-Child enters the world with a humble beginning. He is not born in a royal palace, but in a manger.

His entire lifetime, the Lord showed us a path to follow, the one that leads to an eternity of happiness in Heaven. The Lord Jesus would later explain to His people that His Kingdom was not of this world, meaning bound by specific geographical boundaries or territories. His Kingdom is Heaven and salvation is offered to all peoples, all nations. However, in order to be deemed worthy of entry into Heaven, we must already here on earth live in and with Christ. We seek to be enlightened by His teaching, the Gospel of Absolute Love and Truth. We, the faithful followers of Christ,  continue His mission of salvation, inviting all to repent of their sins and to become perfect as Our Heavenly Father is perfect. We are called to become instruments of Peace and show compassion to others, especially the poor and those in need.

CHRIST IS BORN GLORIFY HIM!

Rev. D. George Worschak

 

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