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Transcript of Infancy Narratives
According to Matthew
Matthew wrote his Gospel for a Jewish audience that was coming to know who Jesus is. This means that Matthew is going to emphasize how Jesus fulfills Jewish history.
He begins with a
which is boring for most people to listen to but to people who know the people in the genealogy, it is very intriguing. The list is full of
Jacob lied to get his father’s blessing. Judah sold his brother to slavery and lied about it. Tamar had children with her father-in-law. Rahab was a prostitute. Bathsheba committed adultery.
Matthew’s genealogy also shows that Jesus is a
descendant of Abraham and David
. Both were promised to be fathers of a great nation.
There is also a lesson being taught that
(non-Jews) played a part in the history leading up to Jesus. This implies that they are now included in the covenant and accepted by God.
Joseph, Husband of Mary (1: 18-25)
Joseph plays an important and heroic role in the Gospel of Matthew. He was betrothed to Mary, which is to say that he was on the verge of completing the marriage by living under the same roof as Mary. This would mean that they would not have had intercourse when Mary is pregnant with Jesus. He knew that this would present Mary as an adulteress so
he thought of releasing her of the marital bond quietly
and without drawing any attention to it.
An angel appeared to him to tell him to stay the course with Mary and to name his son 'Jesus.'
“Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God's self-revelation in Christ and he does so from the very beginning. Looking at the gospel texts of both Matthew and Luke, one can also say that Joseph is the
first to share in the faith of the Mother of God
and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation. He is also the first to be placed by God on the path of Mary's "pilgrimage of faith." It is a path along which - especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost - Mary will precede in a perfect way.”
Joseph is significant because he gives us the first example of Christian manhood and discipleship after Mary. We see him as chosen by God and yet always humble and hidden. Because of his protection of Jesus, he is the Patron of the Universal Church. He is invoked in order to protect the Church from harm and evil while it is still on this earth.
The Wise Men (2: 1-12)
The Wise Men are aware that Bethlehem was to be the place of birth for the Messiah. They arrive at Bethlehem from the east. They represent how all nations will come and worship Christ and how everyone will be allowed access to God. The star also resembles how all people are able to see God’s glory. God’s revelation is no longer hidden.
The gift of gold tells us that Jesus is a king. Frankincense tells us he is holy. Myrrh tells us that he will be anointed at his death.
Matthew & Luke
Epiphany - January 6
The Flight to Egypt (2: 13-18)
The fact that Jesus is already sought to be killed as an infant tells us about his mission and future. This is similar to Moses who was nearly killed as an infant and who eventually returned to Egypt to deliver God’s people. This also fulfills a prophecy made by the prophet Hosea.
“And so Jesus' way back to Nazareth from Bethlehem passed through Egypt. Just as Israel had followed the path of the exodus 'from the condition of slavery' in order to begin the Old Covenant." (
According to Luke
St. Luke was a doctor and a skilled writer. He wrote his gospel after speaking to eyewitnesses. He was writing to a Gentile audience.
John the Baptist was the
bridge between the Old and the New Testament
. We see this in his father who was functioning as a priest in the Temple when an angel appeared to him and told him he would have a son in his old age. His son shall be great and filled with the Holy Spirit and will
“make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
But Zechariah doubts this message from the angel Gabriel and is then struck dumb. Zechariah only regains his voice when he names the child 'John' at his circumcision.
The Birth of the Baptist (1: 5-25; 57-80)
The Annunciation (1: 26-38)
After Luke shows Zechariah in the Temple and how he is struck dumb, he turns to Mary where there is a strong contrast in both scenery and in holiness. He moves from the Temple to the quiet home where Mary lives. Zechariah does not believe it is possible with God, whereas Mary wonders how God is going to carry out what it is that He declares through St. Gabriel.
“Full of grace” is better translated and understood as “you who have been fully graced,” which shows how God prepared Mary by means of her Immaculate Conception.
The significance of this event is Luke showing the audience where true holiness is found and how great Jesus will be in compared to any other person or prophet.
The Visitation (1: 39-56)
2 Samuel 6
David “arose and went” Mary “arose and went”
David is unworthy Elizabeth is unworthy
David dances John leaps
The Ark is stationed for 3 months Mary stays for 3 months
The Ark visits Jerusalem
Mary visits Elizabeth
The significance of Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant at the Visitation is that Mary is God’s chosen instrument in
bringing us the New Covenant
which will be established in the Body and Blood of Jesus. She carries in herself
everything that is important for our salvation
just as the Ark of the Covenant did for the Jews for many years.
Mary declares the
, which is the Latin title for the Canticle of Mary. It begins with “Magnificat anima mea Dominum”, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”
The Birth of Jesus (2: 1-20)
Bethlehem is the region Joseph was from and so he had to return for the census. The name means “house of bread” and was a small town south of Jerusalem. This draws a connection between Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem and every Mass.
This is significant because Jesus came to be food for us to eat, food that gives us eternal life. This is further highlighted in the fact that Jesus is placed in a manger which was where animals would eat. He came to be consumed.
Being a shepherd was looked down upon during this time. They were some of the poorest people and the least educated and they typically smelled bad. But these are the people who are to find consolation in Christ, the King who was born poor.
This is significant because it foreshadows Jesus’ message of peace and blessings to those who are poor and put their trust in the Lord.
The Presentation (2: 21-38)
Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the temple for circumcision, which is a sign of incorporation into Judaism, done on the 8th day after birth. This also involved a sacrificial offering to “cleanse” the mother. Joseph and Mary offer the minimum sacrifice of two pigeons and this shows their poverty.
Simeon was a holy man who was able to recognize Jesus. He does so only by the gift of the Holy Spirit. He furthermore describes what Jesus’ life will be like and how his mother will suffer with him.
This event is significant because it shows how Joseph and Mary were obedient to Jewish law even though they were different. It also reminds draws our attention to the death of Jesus.