The reaction when I felt a call to the seminary and priesthood was mostly positive; but one reaction from an Aunt of mine really caught me off guard: 'What, Tom's son?'
In his younger years, dad was a bit of a party animal. I would repeat some of his stories here, but it is a family blog, so well, you know. (Not that anything was illegal, rather more impish; so yes, I come by it honestly.)
I thought of that reaction at Mass this morning as I read the Genealogy of Jesus as found in the Gospel According to St. Matthew:
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.
David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.
Not exactly the list of characters, if you were going through the Bible, whom you would choose as ancestors of the Son of God. Rahab was a harlot and prostitute. The kings were ruthless murders, cutthroats and thieves; among others!
Yet, these are the human ancestors of Jesus. This is his family heritage. I hope it gives some solace to those families who have a less than perfect record, that even 'Tom's son' can make it to be a decent priest. God works in mysterious ways, as we stand one week outside of Christmas; let Him work in your family, too.