The first half of this chapter deals with Rachel and Leah vying to provide Jacob with children, each giving him their maid servants as wives, as well as bearing them children of their own. We also have an interesting exchange where Rachel asks Leah for some mandrakes which were found by Reuben (Leah's son). Leah agrees, in exchange for being able to spend the night with her husband. It gives some insight as to how this particular polygamous household works, if not others.
Then we have Jacob finally finishing his second seven year stint of work for Laban, and making a deal with Laban, and outsmarting him when Laban tries to "fix" the deal.
It would seem that there is a trend of cleverness in our old testament heroes so far...
A psalm of petition...asking that all petitions be fulfilled. This one pretty much covers everything.
Matthew 12: 22-37
Jesus heals a blind and dumb demoniac, and again the Pharisees say that Jesus is in cahoots with the forces of darkness. Jesus responds with a well reasoned argument, the truth of which has been reiterated time and time again in sacred as well as secular circles: no city or house divided against itself can stand. He also tells us that blasphemy against Him will be forgiven, but blasphemy against the holy spirit will not. This is a bit cryptic, but the footnote suggests that this the Pharisees' accusation against the Spirit whom Jesus is working in implies a hardness of heart that precludes repentance. This is important to consider...a lot of folks interpret this to mean that if one blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, that person can not be redeemed. We know that this isn't true, though, for all things are possible for God, and if one blasphemes against the Spirit without truly appreciating what they are doing, certainly they can be forgiven if they repent.
Though faith is an act, it is not something that one can do alone. Just as we can't give ourselves life...we can't give ourselves faith. It has to be transmitted to us by someone else. And, just as we can, in cooperation with God, transmit life to others, so, too, can we transmit faith. Our faith does not exist in a vacuum...revelation has ceased, and therefore it relies on each new generation to pass it on.
And so, we need shepherds to ensure that we pass on the right information, to keep unity. In this, the Church is our mother, our teacher in the faith. As an earthly mother teaches us to walk and talk in a physical sense, the Church teaches us to function as part of the mystical body of Christ. That is, she teaches us the basics of walking and talking in the life of faith.
Good night and God bless!