Saturday, July 2, 2011

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

We often use this title for God without thinking very much of the complexity that it signifies. For as much as we may wish the world could simply be divided into good and evil, us and them, these three names from the beginning of our faith reminded us of how complicated the world can be.

Today's first reading reminds us that by all rights it have been Esau instead of Jacob whom we recall. Jacob only received his father's blessing because of a lie, a conspiracy. Some may want to blame his mother, since she is the one who hatches the conspiracy. But we cannot forget that three times Isaac asks Jacob a question. Three times he is given an opportunity. And three times he chooses to lie to his blind, aged, and dying father. With each lie the sin becomes worse, because he has more time to reflect, and another opportunity to repent. He does not instead he steals his brothers blessing.

If the world were as simple as some people want it, God would have struck him dead instantly. I am still amazed at the number of people who think when something bad happens in their life it must be God punishing them. Ours is not a God who watches our every move, blessing and punishing us as we go. Our judgement comes at the end of life.

As we will see Jacob is allowed to keep the stolen blessing to see what he will do with it, more sin or conversion.

No person except Mary was preserved free from sin. We are all a mixed bag. When someone falls why does our culture rush so quickly to let the sin wipe away all the good they have done or perhaps will do. Only God can see the totality of a person's life, and therefore only God can judge.
We all know the scripture "Judge not and you will not be judged"(Lk. 6:37)
Why is it so hard to live it? If we focused our energy on monitoring our own words and actions in the right way, we would not be able to focus so much on others. Perhaps we focus on others to avoid really looking at ourselves.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, each is a man both great and flawed, signs to us of a God who is both merciful and just.