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20121015 Jacob encountered God 雅各伯與天主相遇

Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac. In order to keep Isaac from the falling into idolatry, Abraham asked Eliezer not to take a wife for Isaac from the daughters of the Canaanites, but from Mesopotamia, where Abraham’s relatives still lived.
Prayer answered
Eliezer prayed for sign and guidance: “While I stand by the spring as the young women from the town come out to draw water, I shall say to one of the girls, ‘Please lower your pitcher and let me drink.” And if she answers, ‘Drink, and I shall water your camels too,’ let her be the one you have decreed for your servant Isaac” (Genesis 24:12-14).
When Eliezer made the request for water to Rebecca, she immediately granted his request. She also offered to give drink to the camels. God answered the prayer of Eliezer, and Rebecca became the wife of Isaac.
Loss of birthright
Rebecca bore two sons for Isaac—Esau and Jacob. Esau was rough, red, and hairy. He was a hunter and a farmer, and was the favorite of Isaac. Jacob was smooth and quiet. He was a shepherd and was a favorite of Rebecca.
Esau was the first-born. However, he sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage. The action of Esau exchanging his permanent rights for a little passing gratification reminds us of the sinner who foolishly sell his birthright to heaven for a passing sinful pleasure.
With the help of his mother, Jacob deceived his father by pretending to be his brother, Esau. Hence, Jacob received the blessing of the first-born from Isaac.
Jacob’s ladder
Jacob incurred the hatred of Esau because he obtained his father’s blessing by fraud. As the result, Rebecca urged Jacob to flee to her brother, Laban. The fleeing of Jacob was a punishment for both Jacob and Rebecca for lying and deception.
On his way to Laban, God gave Jacob a vision and a promise. He saw a ladder reaching from the earth to heaven, and angels were going up and down on it (Genesis 28:12). God renewed the covenant with Abraham by giving Jacob the same promises: land, kingdom, and universal blessing through his descendants.
The ladder is a symbol of the cross which joined earth with heaven. The ladder is also a symbol of prayer. For prayer is an elevation of one’s soul to God. Like the angels our spirit goes up to God to love and adore Him.
Jacob called the place where he had had the vision the “house of God” and the “gate of heaven”. We call the church the “house of God” because Jesus dwells there in the Blessed Sacrament. We call the Catholic Church the “gate of heaven” because through her we receive the truths and graces which lead us to heaven.
From Jacob to Israel
Jacob was received by his uncle Laban. He remained with Laban twenty years. He became wealthy and had eleven sons.
God commanded Jacob to return to his homeland. Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to Esau. The messengers reported that Esau was coming with four hundred men. Jacob was afraid and prayed to God.
During the night, God sent an angel to wrestle with Jacob. The angel changed his name to “Israel” saying, “No longer are you to be called Jacob, but Israel since you have shown your strength against God and men and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:29).
Prayer is like wrestling—it is a battle of faith and the triumph of perseverance. Esau reconciled with Jacob—-“Esau ran to meet him, took him in his arms, threw himself on his neck and wept as he kissed him” (Genesis 33:4).

黎貝加為依撒格生育了雙胞胎的兒子 —— 厄撒烏和雅各伯。厄撒烏生得粗獷發紅,渾身是毛,後來狩獵耕種,得父親依撒格歡心。雅各伯卻恬靜深居,被母親寵愛。
厄撒烏本是首生子,當享有長子的尊貴和名份;但他卻為了要吃雅各伯的餅和扁豆羹,竟輕易地用其長子的名份,與弟弟雅各伯交換了 —— 好像罪人用罪惡,為得到短暫的快感而換走了享得天堂的名份。
天主要雅各伯返回父家。雅各伯先遣人員接觸兄長厄撒烏,卻因得悉厄撒烏帶同四百人迎接他而感害怕,於是他向天主祈求。當夜,雅各伯夢得跟天神搏鬥,天神事後對他說:「你的名字以後不叫雅各伯,應叫以色列,因為你與神與人搏鬥,佔了優勢。(創世紀32:29)」祈禱猶如搏鬥 —— 為信德而奮力,會藉恆心、堅持而得最後勝利。