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The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Vigil Mass: HOW COME WE HAVE JESUS’ DNA




If you have taken the DNA test, you would understand how vast the human connection spreads. DNA shows how humans have direct links with places least imagined -Belgium, France, Australia, Canada, Africa, Asia, Scandinavia, Ecuador, etc. Surprisingly, this is something that we are unaware of until we take the DNA test. How come someone born in the US has a link with Australia and can be traced to some ancestral lineage that the individual cannot explain? The mystery of our human existence demonstrates that humanity is made in God’s image and likeness. Have you ever considered taking a spiritual DNA test to see what that will look like? The answer is in the story of Christmas, “Emmanuel, God is with us.”

 

Ordinarily, I wouldn't say I like to read Matthew Chapter 1, because I considered it a boring history of names that do not have any meaning to my desire for spiritual growth through the scripture. However, I decided to reflect a little deeper on this passage in the light of the 2023 Christmas. Matthew chapter 1 chronicles the genealogy of Jesus Christ from Abraham till the time of Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ. Simply put, “A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes are made up of DNA.” Hence, the genealogy of Jesus is the study of the unit of heredity of Jesus transferred from his ancestral lineage which helps us to determine, as well as to understand the features of Jesus. Studying the genealogy of Jesus makes sense at Christmas.

 

Matthew begins by describing Jesus as “the son of David and the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). Jesus’ messianic title is portrayed as the son of David. This description foreshadows the Davidic royalty and makes Christ a true Israelite. Scripture attests to this when Paul speaks of David to the people in the Synagogue, “From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus” (Acts 13:23).

 

Jesus is also described as “the son of Abraham.” This points to the fulfillment of the salvation promised to the Gentiles as an integral part of God’s plan. Above all, Abraham is addressed as the father of a multitude of nations, significantly as our father in faith. Through Abraham, the lineage of Jesus traverses to every generation and links him up with Joseph who is again described as “son of David.”

 

Through Joseph’s earthly fatherhood, Jesus's birth is accomplished as he accompanies the Blessed Virgin Mary to accomplish this divine task. The angel speaks to Joseph, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” In simplistic terms, we can say that God “marries” Mary through the Holy Spirit. This way, we also, become adopted sons and daughters in Christ. Hence Paul sums this theology up as follows, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15).

 

Christmas celebrates this great mystery of our salvation through the incarnation of Christ. God gifts himself to humanity, “and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” This, for us, is the meaning of the genealogy of Christ.

 

Therefore, we all celebrate what we have in common today. Our spiritual DNA transcends the physical identity -America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Hispanic, -black, white, fair, dark, tall, or short. We all have the God-gene in us through Christ the Emmanuel.

 

The prophet Isaiah helps us to identify themes for our celebration today:

1.      Vindication/redemption: God says, “For your sake, I will not be silent, until your vindication shines forth like the dawn and your victory like a burning torch.

2.      Rebirth: God calls each of us by a new name. It is a name pronounced by the mouth of God himself. This new name means you are transformed in Christ.

3.      Royalty: Every child of God is special. Baptism bestows on you the crown of royal diadem held by God himself. God’s crown is glorious.

4.      Restoration: God’s mission for his children is to restore them from the place of isolation. Being an adopted child of God, you are God’s Delight, God’s joy.

5.      Marriage: God’s marriage with us is unique. To be espoused means to be cherished. It means to be appreciated. You enter a lasting bond, the privilege of divine intimacy.

 

No wonder everything is different at Christmas. Christ’s birth gives a supernatural meaning to our lives. So, when you go for another DNA test, remember that your primary DNA is God’s child. Jesus seeks to find a space in our hearts, no matter how little. He wants to turn that “no man’s land,” into a place of peace, joy, and freedom, so we can embrace each other. Christ wants every dark spot in our hearts to be aglow with the light of charity and compassion.

 

Everything becomes different at Christmas because Christ the Emmanuel is born. God is with us in human form. Christ takes place in human flesh for our sake. What happens? Cookies taste sweeter at Christmas. Gifts bear deeper meanings at Christmas. Food becomes more delicious at Christmas. Family reunions are more joyful at Christmas. Outdoors and indoors wear special decorations at Christmas. Travel becomes more exciting at Christmas. Flowers produce special scents at Christmas. At Christmas, darkness is illumined. Our hearts become disentangled from sin, shame, and hatred. Joy overtakes gloom. Christmas changes everything. The prophet says, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk. 2:14). 

 

Silent night! Holy night! All is calm. All is bright. Ron yon Virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and might. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Christ the savior is born. Christ the Savior is born!! 


Readings: 1st- Is. 62:1-5; 2nd- Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Gospel- Matt. 1: 1-25

 

 

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