On Christmas Eve, listen for the women who furthered God's reign

by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
published Advent 2012

There are many websites, such as ancestry.com, that help people develop their family tree going back through generations of loved ones.  But have you ever wondered what the family tree of Jesus would look like?

The genealogy of Jesus is given to us in the Gospel of Matthew 1:1-25 which is proclaimed at the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass.  We probably all know that our Blessed Mother Mary is among those listed in this genealogy.  There are also some women of the Old Testament included in the list:  Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba).  In a list full of the names of male ancestors, why would Matthew include these women?

In reflecting on their stories in the Old Testament, each of these women took risks in faith.  They walked from darkness to light by bold actions:

  • Tamar risked her life to continue her lineage (Gen. 38)
  • Rahab risked her safety to hide spies from certain death (Joshua 2:1-24)
  • Ruth left everything to help her mother-in-law, Naomi (Book of Ruth)
  • Bathsheba became the mother of Solomon after experiencing tragedies in her life (2 Samuel 11:1-26; 12:15-25)
  • Mary, Our Blessed Mother said "yes" to God's desire that she give birth to Jesus, the Christ

All of these women  were integral parts in the story of our salvation.  God used them in unexpected ways leading them and us from darkness to the light -- the Light of the world.

As we enter into this Advent season, may we be open to the God of surprises --  the God who asks us to lead others to Jesus by our words and actions of love and faith.

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Ruth refused to leave Naomi's side after the deaths of Naomi's husband and two sons.