Day 18: The Heart of Israel

Genesis 35:1-29 God took another step in the formation of his people by having Jacob discard all of their pagan idols and offer a sacrifice. No longer shall your name be called Jacob: When God gives a person a specific mission, he often gives him or her a new name denoting that mission. Jacob thus became ISRAEL, just as Abram became Abraham and, during the public ministry of Christ, Simon would become Peter…(CCC 59, 881)

Ch 36:1-42 The genealogy of Esau is meant to show how God’s promise was fulfilled in Esau as well as Jacob. This list differs from other references in Genesis probably because the original writer was pulling together multiple oral traditions that differed in certain details. The text makes no mention of the dispute over the birthright of Isaac; instead, it makes it appear that Esau and Jacob-like Abraham and Lot before them-parted ways amicably after their herds became too large for the available grazing lands.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we give you praise and we give you thanks for your Word. We ask that you please send us your Holy Spirit so that your Word remains powerful and effective in our lives, that your Word penetrates not just our minds and our hearts, but penetrates our very lives and shapes the way in which we respond to your Word. You have revealed your heart to us. Help us now, in this moment, to reveal our hearts to you. You have changed us. We ask you to please change us again. Make us new this day and every day, because we want to belong to you more than anything in this world or in the next. We want to be yours. We want to do your will. In Jesus’ name, we ask you to please help us to be that kind of people. Amen." 


Throughout the Bible, one underlying theme in the Story of Salvation is God showing his dominance over all the false gods that appear. From the forbidden fruit onward, idolatry had become more and more the standard, that Rachel's father had his own "household gods" that she was attached to. Genesis 35 is the first instance I've noticed where false gods are abandoned in favor of the one true God. More will continue to fall all the way through to the end.

The details of Rachel's death illuminate details of events in the Gospels that involve Mary, showing how she fulfills where the women that came before her came up short. When we learn more about the relationship between Joseph and his brother Benjamin, and learn more about Rachel in Jeremiah, her story helps further illuminate Mary's role in God's plan for salvation. This is illustrated wonderfully in "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary" by Dr. Brant Pitre.