Leah the Unloved
Last Friday during the night, I had a dream. In the dream I was reading the book of Genesis and thinking of the person of Leah.
Now to tell the truth when I woke up, I had to think of, “Who was Leah?” I had some notion of her, but I didn’t know much about her. I did a little research and discovered that Leah is an important person in the bible.
The first time the bible mentions her we read this, “Leah had lovely eyes.” (Gen29:17) but the footnotes say lovely can be translated week or tender. Leah had a hard life and spent much time crying. Her eyes were weak from crying.
Patrick Reardon says, “The Lord looked after Leah, He had to. Nobody else would.”We all know the story of how Jacob wanted to marry Rachel but by a deception on the part of Leah’s father Laban he married Leah. On the wedding night Laban switches Leah for Rachel. Later Laban claims that it is uncustomary to give the younger daughter away in marriage before the older one. Laban offers to give Rachel to Jacob in marriage in return for another seven years of work. (Gen 29:16-30) Jacob accepts the offer and married Rachel.
Jacob was tricked in much the same way that he got the Father’s Blessing from Issac that was intended for Easu.
Leah was hurt for not being the first choice of Jacob. She was simply passed over because she was not as beautiful as Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. The bible even says, ‘ Jacob loved Rachel but hated Leah.” We even read in the book of Genesis how Easu was going to attack so Jacob put Leah and her children where the battle would take place but put Rachel and her children where it was safe. (Gen 33:2)
Leah was always faithful to Jacob, but she never was loved in return. But God watched over Leah and Leah was faithful to God.
Leah still gave Jacob six sons and a daughter. Leah is the mother of Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulum. (Gen 35:23) She is the mother of 6 of the tribes of Israel.
Leah gave birth to Levi. It was from the tribe of Levi that came Moses, Aaron, King David, Elizabeth, John the Baptist and Peter. Leah also gave birth to Judah. Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah.
In the end Leah was buried next to Jacob not Rachel. (Gen 49:31)
What can we take from this story? Well Rachel is an image of the beautiful church while Leah is an image of the suffering church. We are all more moved towards the beautiful part of the church and we flee from the suffering, ugly part of the church.
Also if we are honest we all have a “Leah” in each of us. We all have a part of us that feels unloved and unwanted. Jacob loved Rachel but hated Leah. But Jesus is unlike Jacob he loves Rachel and Leah, but in a special way Jesus is moved more towards the deserted wife. Isaiah says, “For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife than the children of her who has a husband.” (Isaiah 54: 4)
The very parts of us we feel are unloved, and unwanted are what God loves the most. God draws close to the “Leah” that is in each one of us.
In the end God blessed Leah. We see how such people as Moses, King David and even Jesus himself came forth from her.
We also read in the book of Ruth (4:1) how the memory of Leah was used as a blessing. Ruth was also an outsider a pagan. She was a non Jew and Ruth looked to Leah for inspiration.
Boaz and Ruth get married and have a son named Obed. Obed is the father of Jesse, and thus the grandfather of David. Ruth is in the family tree of King David, and Ruth is even in the genealogy of Jesus. (Mat 1:5)
God used Leah and Ruth to bring about His Plan. Both were unlikely persons to be used by God.
I would be willing to bet that they both had hearts of Gold and lots of Faith. Scripture tells us that God looks at the heart not at the appearance.
Tonight I am doing a mass for the healing of the family tree. I bet we all have a Leah and a Ruth in all of our families. Maybe this person was the black sheep of the family, maybe it is the person that no body understood, the person who had so much suffering in their life.
The story of Leah and Ruth tell us, it is often the people that the world never understood or accepted that are most pleasing to God. It is often these people that bring about the most blessing to our families.
So tonight at the Mass of the Healing of the family tree, we ask God to release all the blessing of the Leahs and Ruths that are in our family tree.
Blessing Father Stefan