The long list of names we read in today’s gospel, some so unfamiliar and hard to pronounce, has a purpose. Matthew and Luke do more in their genealogies than trace the Jewish ancestry of Jesus back as far as they can. The evangelists want to show to their gentile and Jewish readers that he has worldwide roots; he’s not just a Jewish Messiah.
His ancestors were exiles in Babylon as well as members of successive Jewish dynasties in Palestine. He had foreign blood from women like Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba, all of whom have something questionable about them. Tamar became a prostitute to win Judah’s favor; Ruth honored many gods, Bathsheba was sexually involved with King David.
In his humanity, Jesus did not come only from Jewish royalty and a perfect ancestry. His roots are in all humanity; he has the blood of saints and sinners. He shares our DNA. He comes from all of us.
The readings are here.