November 28. First Sunday of Advent. (November reflections are replaced with the Advent programme.) Genealogy. Light the 1st candle on the Advent wreath today and every day of the week. Read Genesis 4-5. It begins with the story of Cain’s envy of his brother Abel, how he plans and murders him, how he is punished by God and driven out into the wilderness. Adam and Eve have other sons and daughters, of whom Seth is the first of a long line until the birth of Noah. In the list in Genesis 5 everyone lived to a very great age, the oldest being Methusaleh whose days numbered nine hundred and sixty-nine years. Scripture scholars interpret these figures as symbolic, a sign of honour; the greater the person, the greater his age. Noah was said to be 500 when he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth, his three sons mentioned in the story of the Flood. The genealogy continues after the Flood until many generations later Abram, a descendant from Shem, was born.

The genealogy of Jesus is found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament with some noticeable differences. Matthew begins with Abraham, the father of the Jewish people and Luke begins with Adam, the father of all humankind. Both include David as ancestor and both trace Jesus’ ancestry through Joseph, his supposed father and husband of Mary. We now understand genealogies as literary devices rather than strict historical facts and their aim is to confirm the identity and ancestry of a person in a particular way. It is most unlikely that Methusaleh lived over 900 years. Today too, ancestors and genealogies are important in many cultures and the list may be passed on by word of mouth over many generations. With all of creation in mind science is studying the evolution of every ecosystem.

Jesus said to his disciples, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars and upon the earth distress of nations, men fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with Power and great Glory. Your redemption is near at hand. Luke 21-25-28. Pope Francis: Even now we are journeying towards the sabbath of eternity, the new Jerusalem, towards our common home in heaven. Jesus says, “I make all things new.” LS 243. Reflection and Sharing. After such a long history do we accept that our final redemption is near? Do we maybe believe that, from noting all the signs of weather and natural disasters, that the end is nigh as many people do?