Sunday, July 5, 2015

Are you Jacob or Esau?

Yesterdays Old Testament reading was about how Rebekha dressed Jacob in Esau's clothing: she added goat skin to Jacob's neck and hands to mimic Esau's hairiness, and then she helped prepare a special meal for Isaac on behalf of Jacob. See, Isaac wanted to give Esau his blessing and this blessing was very important, for it carried on God's blessing which began which his father, Abraham, had given him. Isaac was eager to give this blessing before he died, so he asked Esau to go hunt some wild game and prepare him a meal with it so he can give him his blessing. Rebekha knew of this plan and was convinced that Jacob was the one God wanted his blessing to lay upon, so she took matters in her own hands.

Many times if we look at this single section of the story, we think Jacob and his mother were going against God: lying, cheating, stealing. However, we cannot forget another important event. At an earlier time, Esau was so hungry from his work, he desired the food which Jacob had with him. Asking for it, Jacob told Esau he may have it in exchange for His birthright. Ravished with hunger, Esau sold his birthright of the first born, which assumed with it Isaac's blessing, to Jacob for the food. So you see, Jacob and Rebekha were actually acting out of justice when she disguised him as Esau. Since Esau had treated his birthright blessing as unimportant by selling it for mere pleasure, and was now about to steal it back, Rebekha took the initiative to make sure Jacob got what was due to him.

Since the Old Testament always points to the New, what can we learn?  Lets look back first with Adam and Eve. They sold their birthright for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They had been protected by living in God's grace but now had been stripped of it, and left to the world. But God gave a promise of the future crushing of the evil that entered humanity through them.

In this part of scripture we see many coverings being undone. The serpant hid itself as good, then revealed as truly evil, Adam and Eve were covered with Grace, but then that was removed since they exchanged it for lesser desires. Then God comes and covers them properly with animal skins, showing them how to cover themselves with chastity. Then He tells them of the Woman who will be covered with Virginity (perfectly chaste, full of grace) that will crush the head of the serpant by means of Her Son. Then they are told of the labors they must endure meanwhile.

Jumping foward, we enter the New Testament. In Luke, we see how Mary clothed with Grace, accepts the Motherhood of God's Son and accepts giving Him his humanity. But what does this have to do with Rebekha and Jacob? Well, let me see if I can summarize what St. Louis de Montfort teaches us sbout this: First, Gabriel came to announce to Mary that she was going to be the Mother of God's Son; she believed. The Incarnation occurred when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived of the Holy Spirit. In this she gave the full, graced humanity to God the Son. He was disguised to sinful man, but not to those who believed. Like Jacob, but better, He became took on full humanity to obtain God's blessing on behalf of all humanity. What was once uncovered and traded in for sin and pleasure was now "recovered" by faith and sacrifice by Jesus through Mary, which was foreshadowed in Jacob through Rebekha.

So what does this teach us? It teaches us to ask Mary to cloth us with God's grace and for us to live lives covering ourselves with the Life of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit teaches us that we are One Body in Christ. If we are One Body, then we too should be "re-covered" with all His truly human qualities.....we need to "live and breathe and have our being" in Him. Let me explain one more way, when Jesus took upon Himself the suffering and death of the cross, He allowed Himself to be covered with all sin, humiliation, pain, suffering, and disgrace. Then He revealed His true Nature...that of God, by rising from the dead. See, by taking on our flesh and being covered in our sin, He decieved the devil and took back what is rightfully ours....Eternal Blessing in Life with God...a life of Grace. 

Therefore, I do not see Rebekha as stealing the blessing for Jacob, rather I see her preparing the means for her son, Jacob, to recover the blessing he was promised beforehand so it was not taken away and squandered. She acted to preserve the blessing. Mary did the same thing, but with true humility and grace, she prepared a place and means for her Son to recover the blessing God had promised beforehand to all humanity. It was time to give what was promised, and Jesus and Mary accepted and carried out God's Will in order to do so for us all then, and cntinues to do for us all now.

Hence, I end with a reminder that we are like Esau, wanting God's blessing when we have already exchanged it for lesser pleasures. We want without the work, however I also desire to motivate you, and myself, to live like Jacob, allowing our Mother, Mary and the Church to "re-cover" us with grace, virute, and blessing. Because of Christ's work of redemption, we have the Sacraments for exchanging sin with Grace, our life for His. We have centuries of holy instruction on how to do good by being obedient after Christ's example. We can now confidently avoid evil knowing that when we fight the temptation to trade what God says is holy (you) for lesser pleasures, we are choosing the better Way of life. We need to spend the rest of our lives practicing these things while learning who Jesus really is through Scripture and studying how the saints have lived their lives after the example of Christ. And doing so will be much more efficient and effective if we do it under the prayers, guidance and help of Mary, the Mother of God.  All this will aid us in "re-covering" our lives with Christ, becoming "other Christ's" in the world, which is only possible through Mary and His Church.

God bless you and mine. Amen.

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