Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jesus, the Catholic Church, and the Twelve Sons of Jacob


Reuben is the firstborn of Jacob. He is borne of Leah, the tired and wearied. Behold a Son, because the LORD hath looked upon my affliction. Now my Husband will love me. Jesus is the Son of God, the Firstborn. Behold a Son, because God looked upon our affliction. Now God can look upon His Bride who is without spot or blemish and He, the Husband, will love Her. In Reuben’s name, we also see the Incarnation of Jesus. We also see the Sacrament of Baptism in which we are born again.

Simeon is the second son of Jacob, borne of the tired and wearied (Leah). Satan hates us because God loves us. The LORD hath heard that I am hated; He hath therefore given me this Son. Jesus, the Son of God, is hated because He is obedient to the Father; but He is the Beloved of God. In Simeon’s name, we also see Jesus’ life of obedience. We can also see the Sacrament of Confirmation, in which the Holy Spirit comes upon us to strengthen us in obedience.

Levi is the third son of Jacob and the tired and wearied (Leah). His name means “joined.” Now this time will my husband be joined unto me. In Levi, we envision the Priesthood, our High Priest, Jesus. Because of His Passion, death, and resurrection, we are joined, united with God. Do we not envision the Eucharist here, where we eat the Person of Jesus Christ—body, blood, soul, and divinity—being united with Him and growing more like Him?

Judah is the fourth son of Jacob, borne of the tired and wearied (Leah). Jesus is the praised, the praise of the Lord. This time will I praise the LORD. In Judah, we see the Ascended Jesus. Because of His Passion, death, and resurrection, He reigns, is seated at the right hand of the Father. Here, we have the Mass, where Heaven meets Earth.

[Leah, the tired and wearied, left bearing for a time.]

Dan is the fifth son of Jacob, borne of Bilhah, timid and bashful, the handmaid of Rachel, the ewe, the sheep. Dan’s name means “judgment, he that judges.” Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son. Because of the redeeming work of Jesus, God has judged and acquitted those who place their trust in Him, who love Him and obey Him. We are His sheep. We are now in the “desert,” learning to trust and depend on Christ. We also judge the sin in us, confessing them in the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation, and being absolved.

Naphtali is the sixth son of Jacob, borne of the timid and bashful (Bilhah), the handmaid of Rachel, the ewe, the sheep. His name means “that struggles or fights, wrestling.” Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed. In Naphtali we see Jacob wrestling with God and prevailing. In Jesus, we wrestle with sin and will prevail due to the strength of Jesus. We see Pentecost, and we continue our growth, increasing our dependence upon the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. “Six” is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day. Six is also the second multiple of three, in which we recall the Resurrection.

Gad is the seventh son of Jacob, borne of Zilpah, the trickling, drooping, the handmaid of the tired and wearied (Leah). His name means “a troop, a fortune.” We are deep in the desert. The oases are few and far apart. We “feel” that we are becoming more weak, more fragile. We fear we are drifting from our Salvation. We “cling” to the Mass and the Sacraments. In truth, we are becoming more like Jesus. In our weakness, He is strong, and the Church is growing worldwide. A troop cometh. In the name Gad, we also think of the Sabbath. Our strength has abated; we rest in Jesus and His strength, the Mass.

Asher is the eighth son of Jacob, borne of the trickling, the drooping (Zilpah), the handmaid of the tired and wearied (Leah). “Eight” reminds us of the eighth day, the day of new creation. We are reminded of the Mass and the Sacrament of Baptism. We are growing in Jesus, our faith is becoming stronger. [Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel, in return for the mandrakes allowed Jacob to lie with Leah. Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. Recall that Leah, the tired and wearied, had stopped bearing.]

Issachar is the ninth son of Jacob, borne of Leah, the tired and wearied. Issachar is the fifth son of Leah. Recall that the fifth son of Jacob, Dan, his name meant “judgment, a judge.” Issachar means “reward, the hired one.” (God hath given me my hire). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia notes: “There is a play upon the name in this sense in Gen 49.15, ‘He bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant under taskwork’.” I do not understand how the mandrakes fit in, or the word “hire.” I do see Jesus bowing His shoulder and becoming a servant under taskwork for our redemption. Nine is the third multiple of three, and Jesus received a reward for His redemptive work: the Church—us.

Zebulun is the tenth son of Jacob and the sixth son of Leah, the tired and wearied. His name means “a habitation, dwelling.” God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me because I have borne him six sons. Jesus is our habitation, our dwelling; and He dwells in us. He is our reward, and we are His. We see the number six again, the number of man; and we see the number ten, causing us to think of the Ten Commandments. I envision the Assumption of Mary. Dinah is the only daughter mentioned, and she was borne of Leah, the tired and wearied. It is fitting that Holy Scripture would mention her here. Her name means “justice, judged, acquitted.” I envision the Coronation of Mary and the Second Coming, at which time our Hope will be fulfilled.

[God remembered Rachel, hearkened to her, and opened her womb.]

Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob and the firstborn of Rachel, the ewe, the sheep. Joseph means “increase, addition, remover or increaser. Rachel said, God hath taken away my reproach; the LORD add to me another son. Because of her name, Rachel makes me think of the Blessed Virgin and the Church. Joseph has to remind us of Jesus because of the great similarities, which I will not go into here. Man was created by Jesus, yet He was born of the creature, the Woman, the Blessed Virgin. Through Jesus, God has taken away our reproach. He also added unto the Blessed Virgin another son, the disciple—the Church.

[Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place and to my country. Jacob wrestles with God, and his name is changed to Israel.]

Benjamin is the twelfth son of Jacob (the first of Israel), the second son of Rachel. As Rachel’s soul was departing, she named him Ben-oni, son of my sorrow, or pain; but his father called him Benjamin--“son of my right hand.” Jesus, of course, is the Man of Sorrows, born of the Blessed Virgin. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Rachel died, and was buried on the way to Ephrath – the same as Bethlehem. Of course, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. TT