Genesis 25:1-34 The genealogy of Ishmael shows that God’s promise to make of him a great nation was fulfilled. Two great nations would descend from the twin sons of Isaac: from the line of Jacob (later named Israel) would come the Israelites and from Esau would descend the Edomites Although Esau (also called Edom), the elder of the twins was to receive the birthright-a primacy in inheritance and family leadership-he gave his birthright to Jacob in exchange for satisfying his hunger with a hot meal after a hunting expedition. As history would play out, the Edomites were already in Canaan when the Israelites arrived at the Promised Land, took control of the region, and eventually supplanted the Edomites from the land, exerting dominance over them. Jacob’s reception of the birthright over Esau foreshadowed the historical episode of the relationship between Israel and Edom. Both of these stories reveal how God bestows his gifts on WHOMEVER HE PLEASES without the consideration of custom or precedence, as in his gifts to Jacob and the Israelites. Esau’s bartering of his birthright for food serves as an example of the danger of allowing the gratification of OUR APPETITES to take precedence OVER OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES. The VIRTUE OF TEMPERANCE places our appetites and passions at the service of living a moral life and development of a spiritual life. (CCC 37, 1809, 2341)
Genesis 26:1-35 Certain events in the life of Isaac bear resemblance of that of his father, Abraham: he passed his wife off as his sister; he fought over a well; he made treaties with his neighbors; and he was promised a multitude of descendants by God. Isaac, who was the bearer of God’s covenant, was a man of FAITH AND TRUST who followed the example of his father, Abraham. (CCC 1814-1816, 2489, 2510)
Job 15:1-35 In his second discourse, Eliphaz used CIRCULAR LOGIC: How dare Job question God about his suffering when the suffering itself was a sure sign that he had seriously sinned? Why did Job, who thought himself wise, not defer to the authority of his visitors, who repeated the traditional wisdom of the times with compelling arguments? Eliphaz also rebutted one of Job’s statements by repeating that those who do evil and seem to prosper in this life will eventually suffer pain and loss on account of their sins.
Ch 16:1-22 Job felt abandoned by God and bemoaned what he perceived as God’s rejection of him. My witness is in heaven: In his prayer Job expressed hope that God would eventually recognize his innocence and judge him correctly; he also articulated trust that he would be vindicated by the same God who allowed him to be tormented for a time.
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Like father, like son, eh?
Abraham TWICE passed off Sarah as his sister to the Pharaoh and Abimelech
Isaac passes off Rebekah as his sister to Abimelech (The one and same Abimelech that Abraham lied to)
What is it that leads us to fall into the same trap again and again?
One of the mysteries of the human heart is that we in our own lives fall into the exact same trap over and over
We trade in what we KNOW is true and what we KNOW is good for something we actually know is LESS TRUE and LESS GOOD
We see this with the story of Jacob and Esau
Esau is the manly man hunter and Isaac loves him
Jacob is the quiet homebody and Rebekah loves him
Rebekah received word from God that Jacob, the younger brother, would be the greater of the two (Gen 25:23 The older will serve the younger….Rebekah now knows something that no one else knows, that God favors Jacob over Esau *NABRE 3rd ed Catholic Study Bible)
Why does God favor Jacob over Esau? The best way to explain it is that God loves sinners. His love is not based on merit. God loves us long before we are born (Jer 1:5) and His love is the CAUSE of our merit, not the result of it (*MSGR. Charles Pope, Catholic Standard)
Esau comes in from the field and Jacob is making lentil soup
Esau is willing to trade away his BIRTHRIGHT, his INHERITANCE for that soup
As the oldest son, Esau would get the lion’s share of all of his father’s property and his father’s inheritance
He freaking trades it in for a BOWL OF BEANS!!! (reminds me of Jack and the beanstalk for some reason)
Have you ever been in that place where you’ve been so hungry that you couldn’t think of anything else besides what’s right in front of you?
How many times have you been in the midst of temptation and you can’t think of anything except what’s right in front of you?
We know in saying yes to anything other than God and saying no to God, I am trading in the inheritance that you have given to me for something less than you
Heaven itself, for something less than Heaven
But we don’t want to think about it because we are looking at something right in front of us
This is the mystery of the broken human heart, the broken human condition
It can be generational i.e Abraham and Isaac
It can be in ourselves
The manipulation of Jacob, the grasper reaching above and beyond himself
Jacob is willing to trade BEANS for a birthright because he knows Esau is being impetuous
There is some manipulation and brokenness in all of us both on the giving end and on the receiving end
We come back to this NEED we have for God’s Grace
It’s so easy to be outside of temptation and say, “That’s dumb. I can’t believe anyone would ever do this.”
It’s another thing to be faced with temptation and be in that place and think, “Man, I’m DESPERATE right now. I’m willing to trade in the most important thing in my life. My deepest identity. My inheritance. My sonship or daughterhood with the Father for anything other than this.”
That’s why we need God’s Grace so much
We need to be reminded of our ancestors
When we see their weakness, they are like a mirror and they reveal to us our own brokenness
We can be more prepared to rise up in God’s Grace once we see our reflection in them
Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we give you praise and glory. We thank you again for your Word. We thank you for bringing us into this two complete weeks that we have been listening to your Word, that we have been allowing it to shape our minds and our hearts so that we can have a worldview that is shaped by you, that we can look at this world in a way that is formed by you, not formed by the brokenness around us, but is formed by brokenness that has been touched by your Grace. Father, we ask that you please touch us in our brokenness with your Grace. Make us whole. Make us new. Make us yours. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."