Matthew's gospel provides a biblical reflection for Advent on the role of women in God's plan for salvation, writes Sean Loone. The author is a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Birmingham.
In Volume 4 Issue 6 of The Pastoral Review I wrote an article called ‘Born for this,’ which explored the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s Gospel. One of the things that struck me in writing that article was the inclusion, by Matthew, of four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. The question I was left with was two-fold: why did Matthew include these women and what, if any, was their relationship to Mary, the last woman to be named in the genealogy? Equally did Matthew see these four women as having the same role as the men he named? This then led me to a further question, did these women have anything in common? That is to say, was there a link to be made firstly between them and secondly with Mary, and if so what was it?
My starting point was the possibility that the four women could be seen as sinners. This is not something new as Jerome made the same point himself. Here, perhaps then, Matthew is making the point, that in and through Jesus sinful and fallen humanity will be saved.