Jacob begins life as the “supplanter”. However, he ends it as the root of the great nation of Israel. After “stealing” the blessing prepared for his brother Esau, Jacob goes into exile. This leads to an encounter with God. God then accompanies Jacob and blesses him, and Jacob increasingly opens his heart to God. The decisive confrontations with his uncle Laban and Esau, reveal a greatly changed Jacob. In a final moment of surrender, when wrestling with God, Jacob becomes a new man. This new man God names Israel and the nation is born. Are we still withholding our surrender?
Jesus, and many others in Sacred Scripture suggest that our greater good, joy and happiness comes from being obedient to the Father. When we are in harmony with the person God created us to be, and when we draw closer to our Creator, we closely connect with our greatest source of happiness. Able’s brother Cain was not happy at God’s disregard for his half-hearted offering. Jacob’s son Joseph was happy obeying, even when it was not easy for him. Samson, under pressure, separated himself from God. After significant suffering, he later repents and God’s strength returns to him. Jesus prays for strength and chooses His Father’s will over his own in the Garden of Gethsemane, then saves all the world. We are invited to unite our crosses to Our Lord’s and to pray for the strength to return to him in ways great and small.