The history of the salvation
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of …. Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah …. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel …. Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah. Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations. Mt 1,1-17
Thirty years ago, when we began to meditate on the Holy Scriptures, this passage from the gospel gave us the same little enthusiasm as when you browse the phone book, because it seemed only a list of names. Over the time, however, having acquired a certain familiarity with the history of the salvation, those names, only by reading, become animated and go to life, as when we browse an old family album. The list of persons appearing in the today’s gospel is a summary of the Old Testament: it remembers the events which occurred to those characters and to the people of Israel. The whole of those events is the ancient history of the salvation, to be followed by that of the New Testament. The Bible is nothing but the written record of a true story, to which, in our meditation, we must return the life which no longer exists. Those characters, however, do not constitute a list of saints, but of men, with their greatnesses and their miseries, with their sin and their holiness, in which we recognize ourselves as in a mirror. Only a few are a model of life. Abraham can be a model to us for the faith, Moses can enlighten the parents to be servants of God and of the family, as he was for his people; Mary enlightens us on how to be of service in the history of the salvation, Jesus enlightens us on the love of the Father, on the fidelity to the plan of life and on the prayer, St. Paul teaches us to be missionaries. The Church, finally, finds its model in that community described at the beginning of the Acts of the apostles: small, but perfect. Reading the Bible with this spirit, as we are doing since thirty years, the word of God becomes a fascinating and living story, as if the chalk characters of the crib, suddenly animated by the Spirit of God, would begin to move and to live, transforming the remembrances of a past story in life which is renewed every day.