Daily Reading & Meditation

Monday (September 8):  Mary's call to be the mother of Jesus the Savior

Scripture: Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23  (alternate reading: Luke 6:6-11)

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abi'jah, and Abi'jah the father of Asa, 8 and Asa the father of Jehosh'aphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki'ah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi'ah, 11 and Josi'ah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of She-al'ti-el, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerub'babel the father of Abi'ud, and Abi'ud the father of Eli'akim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli'ud, 15 and Eli'ud the father of Elea'zar, and Elea'zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary  had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary  your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel"  (which means, God with us).

Meditation: Do you rejoice in the promises of God and trust in his saving plan for your life? There is a long venerable tradition among many Christians of celebrating the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus our Savior, on this day. Her birth prepared for our redemption in Jesus Christ. Matthew begins his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham's lineage through the line of David, King of Israel. Matthew concludes his genealogy by indicating that both Mary, Jesus' mother and Joseph, his legal foster father, came from the line of David.

Do you believe and trust in God's promises?
Mary was asked to assume in faith a burden of tremendous responsibility. It had never been heard of before that a child could be born without a natural father. Mary was asked to accept this miraculous exception to the laws of nature. That required faith and trust. Second, Mary was not yet married. Pregnancy outside of wedlock was not tolerated in those days. Mary was only espoused to Joseph, and such an engagement had to last for a whole year. She was asked to assume a great risk. She could have been rejected by Joseph, by her family, by all her own people. Mary knew that Joseph and her family would not understand without revelation from God. She nonetheless believed and trusted in God's promises.

Joseph, a just and God-fearing man, believed the message given to him to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah. Like Mary, Joseph is a model of faith for us. He is a faithful witness and servant of God's unfolding plan of redemption. Are you willing to trust and obey the Lord as Mary and Joseph did?

Jesus the Messiah is a direct descendant of King David and Abraham
What is the significance of Matthew's genealogy? His genealogy is arranged in three sections portraying three great stages in the spiritual history of the people of the old covenant. The first stage begins with Abraham, the father of the chosen people, and ends with David, God's anointed King. The second stage takes us to the exile of God's people in Babylon. This is the period of Israel's shame and disaster due to her unfaithfulness.

The third stage takes us to Jesus, God's anointed Messiah. Jesus the Messiah is the direct descent of Abraham and David, and the rightful heir to David's throne. God in his mercy fulfilled his promises to Abraham and to David that he would send a Savior and a King to rule over the house of Israel and to deliver them from their enemies.

Jesus the Savior is the fulfillment of God's promises to us
Jesus is the fulfillment of all God's promises. He is the hope not only for the people of the Old Covenant but for all nations as well. He is the Savior of the world. In him we receive adoption into a royal priesthood and holy nation as sons and daughters of the living God (see 1 Peter 1:9). Do you recognize your spiritual genealogy and do you accept God as your Father and Jesus as the sovereign King and Lord of your life?

"Lord Jesus, you came to save us from the power of sin and death and give us abundant everlasting life in your kingdom. May I always rejoice in your saving work and trust in your plan for my life".

Psalm 145:2-3, 10-13

2 Every day I will bless you, and praise your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the sons of men your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.  The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Jesus' humanity revealed in the genealogy, by Severus of Antioch (488-538 AD)

"One must bear in mind therefore that the Evangelists, or rather the Spirit speaking through them, took pains to ensure that their readers believed that Christ was truly God and truly human. Because of what they wrote, no one could possibly doubt that he is God by nature, beyond all variation, mutation or illusion, and that according to the ordered plan of God he was truly human. This is why John could say, on the one hand, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' John immediately adds, 'The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us' (John 1:1-2,14). Hence Matthew wrote appropriately, 'The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.' On the one hand he is not able to be counted simply from natural generation among families, since it is written, 'Who shall declare his generation'? (Isaiah 53:8) He is before the centuries and of one substance with the Father himself, from the standpoint of eternity. But by this genealogy he is also numbered among the families of humanity according to the flesh. For in truth, while remaining God, Christ became man without ceasing to be God, unaltered till the end of time. This is why there is also mention of the ancient patriarchs in the lineage, the narrative and observation of the times and vicissitudes that are indeed proper to human history. Through all this Matthew made it clear that Christ participates in our human generation and in our nature. Otherwise some might claim that he appeared in illusion and in imagination only, rather than by becoming genuinely human. Think of what might have been said if none of this had been written?" (excerpt from CATHEDRAL SERMONS, HOMILY 94)


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author Don Schwager 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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