- Ephesians 4:22-25, Let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors.
- Psalm 145, The Lord is gracious and merciful.
- Matthew 1:1-17, The genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.
“The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made,” said the psalmist, proclaiming that the love of God is beyond boundaries of ethnicity, culture, race, and even religion.
The account of the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel reflects this expansive vision. While ancient cultures often saw women as inferior, or as the property of their fathers or husbands, Matthew names four women among the ancestors of Jesus, two of whom, Ruth and Rahab, were Gentiles. Three other ancestors in the list were known for their sinfulness, including the adulterous King David. Naming these in the genealogy of Jesus and making them part of God’s human history, proclaims that God includes everyone, male and female, sinner and righteous, in his plan of salvation, regardless of their backgrounds.
Indonesia is a nation of over 17,000 islands and 1,340 different ethnic groups, and churches are often separated along ethnic lines. Such exclusivity can lead some to see themselves as the sole possessors of the truth, thus wounding the unity of the church. Amidst escalating ethnic and religious fanaticism and a growing spirit of intolerance throughout the world today, Christians can serve the human family by joining together to bear witness to the all-embracing love of God, proclaiming with the psalmist that “the Lord is gracious and merciful” to all.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, we give praise to you for your great glory made manifest in all of creation. Give us an open heart to embrace all who experience discrimination. Help us to grow in love beyond prejudice and injustice. Grant us the grace to respect the uniqueness of each person, so that in our diversity we may experience unity. This prayer we make in your Holy Name. Amen