Matthew’s Gospel begins with a genealogy of Jesus, naming him “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” We Christians also descend from Abraham and from David. In our case, as St. Paul points out today, the family resemblance is not genetic, but is instead a matter of faith. We are to be like Abraham and David in our wholehearted reliance on God.

Joseph gives us an image of what it means to be a “child of Abraham, child of David”: his trust, his mercy to Mary, even when he thought she had been unfaithful, let him become a witness and partaker in the still greater mercy of God. Rather than the natural family Joseph had expected, he took God’s unnatural mercy into his house, welcoming not only Mary but with her the work of the Holy Spirit and an unknown child. By accepting an event that transcended human understanding, the Holy Family became the core of a human family built on a graced charity that expands natural affection.

Early Christians distinguished between the natural generation of children and the way God’s spiritual generation upset the natural order. Gentile Christians were children of Abraham, “raised up from these stones” (Matt 3:9), born by God’s choice rather than by nature or human will (John 1:13). Joseph would not be the natural father of a child by Mary; instead, he would be the adoptive father to multitudes of children raised up by the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.

As we look at our lives, where is the Holy Spirit overturning our expectations and asking us to accept God’s supernatural family?

Kimberly Hope Belcher from Give Us Day