December4. Jacob and sons. Read from Genesis 28 – 35. Jacob, Isaac’s son, is the last patriarch,   those men of stature who, in spite of some events in their personal lives, followed the God who had made a covenant with them. His 12 sons became the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel down through the centuries, with Judah becoming the main brother in the family tree of Jesus. Jacob’s own family story is an adventurous one with love as well as treachery and conflict. He wrestled with an angel in the name of God. He also eventually became reconciled with his brother Esau. He fell in love and wanted to marry his uncle’s daughter Rachel. His uncle made him work for 7 years but then gave Jacob Rachel’s sister Leah to be his wife. So Jacob worked for another 7 years for Rachel. Apart from 12 sons Jacob also had daughters by his various wives but Rachel was his favourite wife. The account of the rape of his daughter Dinah by foreigners and her being avenged by her brothers speaks not only of sexual immorality but of intercultural conflict. As in his earlier life there is favouritism with Joseph being his father’s favourite. This caused great resentment in his brothers who plotted to get rid of him.

Pope Francis; Every day the family has to come up with new ways of appreciating and acknowledging its members. AL 276. Points for reflection and discussion: The family bonds in Jacob’s family, in spite of conflict, remained strong. Certain practices like polygamy were common at the time but there were clearly sexual norms to be adhered to as well. How does your family deal with and resolve some of this issues?