Today's gospel might seem almost odd at first glance. It's a long list of genealogy, tracing the family tree of Jesus. It recounts the ancestry from Abraham, through David and finally to Jesus. The remarkable part is that it contains something not usually found in a genealogy of those times - mention of women.
Tucked away in the rhythmic cadences of the gospel:
How wondrous that God used these women to bring about the Messiah. Each one of them was a symbol of how God uses the unexpected to carry out God's plan - the coming of the Messiah. Our savior comes to us out of a lineage that is not "regular," but is certainly human, and in all of it, God is working. It challenges us to look at the ways God is inviting us to be instruments of Gods' plan today, in the midst of our own less-than-perfect unions.
Advent is a wonderful time to ask these questions. Can the Lord use me? I'm not perfect, I'm not holy. My circumstances are complex, even messy. I'm too busy, too un-focused, lazy or fast-paced for God to use me. I'm not ready. As soon as I get myself together a little more, then I'll be ready to answer God's call.
Whatever each of our individual human situations are, the temptation is always, perhaps especially for women, to think that God isn't interested in using me. Perhaps this Advent is a time for us to discover what initiatives we can take to be one of the instruments in God's marvelous plan of salvation. Perhaps this is a time to notice one of the women in our lives who, though not perfect, may be an instrument of God's grace for me.
Thank you, Jesus, for this wonderful gospel and the story of the hidden women who are part of your story, your family history. Maybe the "irregularities" of your own past family life inspired you to be more compassionate to prostitutes and welcoming to people in the margins of society. Inspire us with the same compassionate and forgiving love.
Help us to find how we are being called to be a part of your plan of salvation. Let us start in our own lives, in our own families. How can we better love a spouse who disappoints us, a parent or other family member who causes us pain or a child who is pulling away from us? Keep our hearts open, Lord, and help us to love these difficult people and relationships in ways we didn't know we were capable of. We wait with the anticpation of Advent to find our own role in the history of salvation.
Thank you Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary, women of faith, destiny and courage. Thank you for saying Yes.
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