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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Advent Monday 3 - What a family!

Monday, December 17, 2007
Readings: Genesis 49:2,8-10; Psalm 72; Matthew 1:1-17

When the Word became flesh it was into a very human family, a family of 'flesh and blood', as Herbert McCabe put it 'a lot of flesh and considerably more blood'. If you read about the lives and activities of the people mentioned in Matthew's genealogy you will see what he means (in Genesis, 1 and 2 Kings, Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles ...). Attention is often drawn to the women mentioned in the list - Tamar the mother of Perez, Rahab the mother of Boaz, Ruth the mother of Obed, Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, and Mary the mother of Jesus. There is something unusual about each of them. Rahab and Ruth are non-Hebrews, 'foreigners' through whom nevertheless God works to bring about the fulfillment of his promises. In some cases - Tamar and Bathsheba - the relationship through which they became the mother of an ancestor of Jesus had something dubious about it. The 'dysfunctional' character of these relationships, and the flawed lives of the men mentioned in the list, might surprise and even shock us, but on reflection is it not a reason for hope? We believe that the Word became flesh, not that he came near to us, or hovered over us, or dealt us a glancing blow like a tangent not really touching a circle. We believe that he became immersed in the dysfunctionality of human lives and relationships - all that we mean by 'sinful flesh' - and that it is by taking on what is ours that He made it possible for us to become what he is. Against this background the holiness of Mary, the mother of Jesus, stands out. Not that she is unreal: she is the most real of the people mentioned, the one living most fully in the light of truth, showing us the kindness and generosity that flow from the love of God, flesh and blood transfigured by grace.

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