We are Products of our Family Stories and of God’s Story

December 17, 2022 – Second Day of the Misa de Aguinaldo

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/121722.cfm)

Each of us is a product of our vast family history. It is not that we are doomed and chained by the past, but we are being enriched by a vast history. Our families have our own history of both joys and sorrows, failures and successes, of horrors and victories.

Our family history tells us who we are and it is part of our identity. It is also very important that we become in touch with our own family history and see how God works within our stories. Besides, knowing our family history, this will be an opportunity for us to allow God to heal our broken and painful past present in our family history.

Let me bring you now on how God works within a human family and how God reveals the Divine Plan in the family history of the whole humanity.

The first reading from the Book of Genesis tells us how Jacob called his sons and bestowed the blessing to Judah the fourth son. The blessing also contains the prophecy of the rise of a King, in the person of David, the very lineage of Jesus claimed in the Gospel of Matthew.

This family of Jacob was filled with guilt and shame. The lineage had stories of repeated unfaithfulness and scandalous personalities. Jesus’ lineage is not perfect and not wholesome at all.

Thus, we find Judah who sold his own brother, Joseph for money. King David who raped Bathsheba and then later ordered to murder her husband. Rahab, who was a prostitute. King Ahaz burned his own son alive as a human sacrifice. King Joash committed idolatry against Yahweh and murdered the people in the Temple area. The once revered King Solomon who built the Temple of God but later on, turned to be unfaithful by turning to the gods and goddesses of his many wives.

In this kind of family history, is there any good news here, when in fact, Jesus did not come from a “good” and “blameless” family?

Despite the unfaithfulness and guilt within this family history, God never wavered His plan to make something good, wonderful and beautiful in this family. The Gospel of Matthew that has been proclaimed today, contained a long list of generations until the birth of Jesus.

Matthew recorded the family tree of Jesus with 42 generations divided into three, that makes it 14. 14 is the equivalent of two 7. Seven is a perfect number in Jewish belief. And the repeated use of 7 means that God works in this human family in an absolutely perfect way. The family tree though not perfect but with traces of sins and unfaithfulness, God works within this human family to bring healing and life.

The family tree and history of Jesus is God’s statement to us that God indeed journeyed with us, in all our humanity, in all our sins and unfaithfulness. Jesus, being born in a human family, tells us that God fully embraces our humanity. With our imperfection, God made it to be the very space for us to encounter him and to know him. Indeed, this also speaks to us that we are all products of our own family stories as well as of God’s story who never abandoned us or wavered his faithfulness to us.

This calls us now to own and recognize the gift of our family. Some of us must have been traumatized and carrying deep wounds because of what happened in our family, others could have been divided because of conflict over material possessions. Many families are also struggling to live because of so much poverty. Yet even with these imperfections, God invites us today, that as we recognize our sins and failures, God also tells us to recognize how God unfolds blessings and graces in our human family.

And so on this second day of the Misa de Aguinaldo, we pray for our own family history, we pray for peace and reconciliation, we pray for healing and freedom so that anything that holds us back, traumatizes us, or haunts us may be healed and be given peace. As for this grace, so that as we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, who has come as part of the big human family, may also bless our families. Kabay pa.

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