The second part of Advent begins with Matthew’s (1:1-17) genealogy of Jesus, starting with Abraham, going fourteen generations to David, fourteen more generations to the Babylonian exile, and a last fourteen generations to Jesus. Anyone familiar with the Old Testament knows that there are a few heroes in these lists but many more who were quite sinful, often reprehensible, and at times downright evil. The women listed have their own interesting stories, but all give evidence that the lineage continues regardless of the circumstances of the conception of the child who becomes Jesus’ forebear. God’s plan will not be foiled, even when He is defied by people who attempt to circumvent or willfully defy His will in favor of their own. For us, we can be confident that the Lord always pursues us and is always able to make things right even when we go terribly wrong. The “Hound of Heaven” does not let up in this life. May we never be so discouraged by past sins or current vices to think that God cannot work with us to get us back to His plan. And when we allow Him to do so, who knows how He will use our conversion to bring others back to Him as well.