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Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, July 7, 2017



Gn 27:1-5;15-29 Ps 135:1-6; Mt 9:14-17
“For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself.”

The Psalmist marvels at the way God accomplishes his will. He ponders and sings in awe and wonder: “All that the LORD wills he does in heaven and on earth, in the seas and in all the deeps.” The mystery of the turbulent and tranquil seas provides a metaphorical way to fathom the depths of God’s mystery. The sea is both nurturing mother and dangerous woman, at once giving food and transport and suddenly turning into deadly threat and mountainous waves. This natural mystery, so out of our control, is only a hint of the mystery of God’s will and His ways of accomplishing that will. He has chosen Jacob for himself, and nothing will get in His way not even the ways, customs, and laws of his people. Our Lord is greater than all gods! Sing praise to his name, which we love! The Lord Jesus evokes singing among those who follow him in awe and wonder. His arrival is something so marvelous that even the old wineskins of Jacob’s descendants cannot contain this mystery. We, too, sing praise and marvel at the new wineskins we have become to bear the mystery of the new wine.

The story of Isaac’s blessing his younger son is more than a tale of rivalry and betrayal. This is not the first time these twins have struggled. Even in the womb of Rebekah they were at each other’s throat. At birth Jacob held Esau by the foot as he followed him out of the womb. Early on in their adult life Esau’s total disregard for his inheritance was exposed when he willingly exchanged his birthright for a bowl of stew. All of these conflicts must be kept in mind if we are to understand this blessing story. Isaac knows that his end is near and in obedience to the customs of the tribe he prepares for death by inviting his eldest son, the first-born twin, Esau, to prepare a meal and receive his blessing. However, as the Psalm reminds us, “the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own possession.” God seems to favor Jacob over his brother. God’s favor is seen in the earlier in the story of Cain and Abel. God’s favor has no easy explanation. In the mystery of God’s will he has chosen Jacob and made him the crafty one. It is this ability to use what is available, even human weakness and moral imperfection that gives us a glimpse of the mystery of God. The Lord, writes straight with crooked lines. The assumption of tradition is that the elder son should inherit the blessing. After all he has lived longest with the father, and at his side learned the wisdom needed to benefit from his father’s accomplishments. The younger son may be too young, too foolish, and he may squander the blessing of inheritance. Such is the wisdom of the ages, but it is not the wisdom of the Lord of all the ages

The Lord Jesus uses the wisdom of his age to point out the Father’s mysterious plan to give his Kingdom to the younger brother. It is foolishness and disaster for the people of Israel to try and patch up their old ways with new cloth. Likewise, there is no wisdom in pouring new wine into old wine skins. The only clever thing to do is get a new cloak and new wine skins. Even the younger son has that much wisdom. Even the new Israel has enough sense to become completely new—discarding the old ways and becoming new by taking on God’s ways. We marvel at the way the Lord loves us and chooses us to inherit his Kingdom even though we are too young and too foolish.

 

 

 

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