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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason



Three genealogies

Three Genealogies

Two  of Christ ... and One of Man

We must choose one.

We are presented with two genealogies in the Holy Gospels: one in Saint Matthew (1:1-17) and the one in Saint Luke (3.23-38) There is little agreement between them. This much, however, appears to be generally agreed upon:  Saint Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus through His Mother Mary (a biological genealogy that goes back to Adam the First Man, as Christ was the New Adam), whereas Saint Matthew traces it through Saint Joseph (a legal genealogy to authenticate Christ’s descending from an unbroken line of kings which extends back to the great King David). 

The genealogical relevance that was of importance at the time of Christ is of little importance to us now. We know Who He is, whence He comes, and why. And yet we still have the impulse to authenticate everything in Holy Scripture and to demonstrate its consonance with Christ. It is understandable in a world that increasingly separates itself from the matrix of its origins. We wish to defend the narrative in terms the world cannot reject. But that is impossible.

As we will see in our commentary on the Gospel reading for December 16th, there is nothing — no evidence, no reasoning, no possible motivation — that will suffice to satisfy the world’s demand for autonomy that is radicated in a defiant and determined disbelief.  Nothing we can present will move the world from its unbelief. It has chosen its god — however meretricious and irrational — and will not be moved away from it, for it is nothing less than itself. To accept any other god is not a form of secular idolatry — it is suicide for this civilization.

Modern Man’s Genealogy

Modern man’s historical genealogy has less pedigree than we find present in Saint Matthew and Saint Luke; far less. It goes no farther back than the 18th century to what we euphemistically understand as the “Rational Enlightenment.” — which was neither (rational nor enlightened).  It was the inauguration of an age in which faith in reason not simply superseded faith in God, but sought to abolish it — often violently. Man became the epicenter of the universe, and having abolished God apotheosized himself. The moral aftermath reverberates to this day.

Indeed, the attempt to abolish faith in God and supplant it with faith in reason is concomitantly the attempt abolish morals altogether as so many lingering vestiges of faith in God: a God already ideologically assassinated by faith in reason has no legislation remaining whatsoever and in whatever vestigial form — in this case “morals”.

Hence, what had already become an immoral society following the “Rational Enlightenment”, now becomes an amoral society in which there is nothing whatever that is intrinsically good or bad, let alone good or evil. Apotheosized man is a god unto himself and everything proceeding from him is, of course, autonomously self-legislated and no longer susceptible to the “old” canons that advert to anything outside himself.  He himself is the canon!

Our genealogy has not yet been fully populated, of course — unlike the genealogies in the New Testament.  Historically they culminated in the one true God Who became man — Jesus Christ — to Redeem the world.

Our own genealogy has resulted in a Pantheon of competing gods in a war of wills as numerous as the deities themselves. It is the apex of internecine warfare and, consequently, not the destruction of the God-become-Man, as intended — but the likely destruction of man-as-god.


Much Depends

Much depends on the generation to come and which genealogy it chooses as its own.

As there are two genealogies presented in the New Testament, so we have two historical genealogies from which to choose: A continuation of the genealogy that culminated in Christ, or the present generation that has abolished Him in the name of “a false and lying god”, as Dante put it, which culminates in the Post-Modern Enlightenment that does not see its own shadow before it, even as it covers the land in, to use Tolkien’s words concerning the land of shadows called Mordor, “a second darkness”.

This “second darkness” is the total eclipse of God by man, resulting, aptly, in a Godless civilization worthy of the “Second Death”1 which forever seals the covenant of man with himself — and eternally apart from God.

The two genealogies — that descending from Christ and that from the world — are utterly incompatible. We cannot choose both. The one is inimical to the other. But choose we must!

In which genealogy, then, will our names be inscribed? To which will we lay claim? Christ or the world?

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Apocalypse 20.12)


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal


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I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)

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