For reasons unknown to us, God may select the Judahs who sell their brothers into slavery, the Jacobs who cheat their way to first place, the Davids who steal wives and murder rivals - but also compose profound and beautiful psalms of praise.
And what about the five women Matthew choses to include? Not a mention of Sarah or Rebekah or Rachel, the upstanding patriarchal wives of Israel. Instead Tamar, a Cananite, who disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law Judah to get a son out of him. And Rahab, another Cananite and a real prostitute this time. And Ruth the Moabite, another outsider. And Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, is named only as the wife of Uriah, whom King David had killed so he could marry her himself. Every one of these women used as God's instrument had scandal or aspersion attached to her-as does the fifth and final woman named in the genealogy: Mary, the mother of Jesus, with her unconventional pregnancy.Matthew's intent in highlighting these women is to make the point that Christ, who as God was able to plan and choose his own lineage, did so in a way that made a bold and profound statement: that he desired to come to us not with the appearance and glory of God (as he is and will return), but in the humility of a 100% human being with very much imperfect ancestors. In doing so, took on our sin not by sinning himself, but by assuming the sins of the past and all time onto himself. At the same time, in choosing to singularly exempt Mary from this stain of sin, he reversed our trajectory from darkness and sin to light and redemption and prepared for himself a perfect flesh-and-blood tabernacle from which to enter into the world. Christ chose to enter the nastiness, pain, and fear, and death of a fallen humanity rather than abandon us to the fate we deserved. He chose love and mercy beyond justice. Only God could plan that kind of entrance.
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. - Romans 1:18-31
The participation of everyone in power is the hallmark of freedom. No one is to be merely the object of rule by others or only a person under control; everyone ought to be able to make a voluntary contribution to the totality of political activity. We can all be free citizens only if we all have a genuine share in decision making.So, to be truly free, we must all be able to contribute our "two cents," and know that our opinions are heard, weighed, and valued. But being free in the sense of society does not mean being free to act on whatever whim we choose. That freedom itself has to be anchored, grounded in something:
...the freedom of the individual to order his own life is declared to be the real goal of societal life. Community has no value whatever in itself but exists only to allow the individual to be himself. However, if the individual freedom...as the highest goal lacks contents, it dissolves into thin air, since individual freedom can exist only when freedoms are correctly ordered.So our freedom must be ordered, or oriented, toward something in order to have meaning. But, if we have billions of people, each a sovereign, what common goal or purpose can their freedom all be oriented toward? Probably the most common and widely accepted answer is the "common good" (i.e. the best possible opportunity for each individual to reach their full human potential, not to be confused with the collective good of society at large). But even the "common good" of man remains vague and has to be further defined and grounded.
According to Maritain, the primary right of a people to govern itself can never become a right to decide everything.This reality--the clashing of two opposing views--plays out briefly and dramatically in the exchange between Christ and Pilate. Referring to the German scholar Heinrich Schlier, who wrote against groups within the Protestant churches who cooperated with the buildup of National Socialism, the Holy Father notes that, according to Schlier,
...although Jesus in his trial acknowledges the judicial authority of the state represented by Pilate, he also sets limits to this authority by saying that Pilate does not possess this authority on his own account but has it "from above" (19:11). Pilate falsifies his power, and...the power of the state, as soon as he ceases to exercise it as the faithful administrator of a higher order that depends on truth.Jesus didn't comment on which specific form of government would best serve the needs of man and society, but he did lay out, in this exchange, what a government--no matter what its form--could never do. It could never take the place of God or supplant his truths with the will of a fallible majority. The minute it seeks to do so, and attempts to eliminate him from the position of ultimate authority, it loses any legitimate claim of power.