|Crabbing in Louisiana|
A long time later, Isaac went to live in the region of the Negeb. One day toward evening he went out . . . in the field, and as he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching.
Rebekah, too, was looking about, and when she saw him, she alighted from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is the man out there, walking through the fields toward us?”
“That is my master,” replied the servant.
Then she covered herself with her veil.
We often hear the reference to the patriarchs, "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," but some scripture scholars would replace Isaac with Rebekah. Not only is she the more interesting person -- Isaac seems both dull and dim-witted -- she is also the recipient of a blessing:
“Sister, may you grow into thousands of myriads; And may your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies!” Gen 24:60Father Abraham and Grandson Jacob receive particular blessings; son Isaac does not; and daughter-in-law Rebekah does. Plus, it is a blessing remarkably similar to that of Abraham and Jacob.
Secondly, we should be fascinated by her because she resembles Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She may be called a type of Mary, and gives us further insight into her Spirit:
After (Abraham's servant) and the men with him had eaten and drunk, they spent the night there. When they got up the next morning, he said, “Allow me to return to my master.”
Her brother and mother replied, “Let the young woman stay with us a short while, say ten days; after that she may go.”
But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has made my journey successful; let me go back to my master.”
|Collect of Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria|
They answered, “Let us call the young woman and see what she herself has to say about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”
She answered, “I will.”Rebekah does not hesitate to go with Abraham's servant to meet her future husband. What could move such an intelligent, energetic and beautiful woman to leave her family to meet an unknown husband in a foreign land but the Spirit of God? That same spirit "overshadowed" Mary as she sprang up to find Elizabeth in Jerusalem; and, more importantly, set out on an unprecedented way of life as the Mother of the Lord.
Her covering her face with her veil at the approach of Isaac reminds us of the sacred nature of Marriage. She will reveal her beauty to him, and behold his beauty, only when they are properly married -- just as Moses hid his face from the Burning Bush until he was allowed to behold God's glory.
The focus of today's first reading, edited from several chapters of Genesis, is the death of Sarah, Isaac's mother, and the comfort he finds in his new wife. But we do well to pay attention to this fascinating young woman.