Those of us who have a few so-called black sheep in the family should be comforted by today's Gospel from St. Matthew. Among those in the lineage of Jesus are counted, among other things, a prostitute and a philanderer. Even the Good Lord had His share of family skeletons in the closet. When one of the crowned heads of England decides to wed, all sorts of inquiries are made about the intended commoner's background. I remember hearing it said about the late Princess Diana that she had a "history but not a past." Not so with those who preceded Our Lord.
We have had quite a few sordid relatives in our family, some still with us, some not any longer. I could write a book about one person in particular that would make for a very amusing read. Then there is my friend Tom who loved to talk about his crazy uncle who set the attic on fire right before dinner, and then kept excusing himself with a glass of water to run upstairs to put it out. You can't make stuff like that up. Well, you could, but you'd be hard-pressed to find something as outlandish as the reality of some of our lives.
In all seriousness, why is the genealogy included in the Gospels? Perhaps as one more proof of how Jesus humbled Himself to take on our humanity, so that we might share in His Divinity. And as we prepare for Christmas and family get-togethers with some of our less-than-desirable relatives, let's remember that where we came from isn't nearly as important as where we're going. And the more humble we are about where we are, the more we will resemble the Savior and help the people we encounter to see Him in us.