Week of Holy Forefathers – Jacob the Patriarch, Noah the Righteous, the Prophet Nathan
Commemorated on the Sunday that falls between the 11th and 17th of December.
On this Sunday, in preparation of the Nativity of our Lord, we remember the Patriarch Abraham and his lineage, ancestors of Christ. The story of Abraham and his faithfulness should be read in the Book of Genesis.
“Through the connection of the holy Ancestors and Patriarchs, Our Saviour Jesus Christ is Himself also, in a way, the fruit of the faith of Abraham. So, when God makes his voice known to each of us while we are still in the strange land of the passions and worldly vanities, we must like Abraham unhesitatingly leave all that is ours, and follow the divine calling with faith until we reach the Promised Land where, in our turn, we shall be able to give birth spiritually to Christ For, planted in us by faith and Baptism, He has to grow in us through the virtues so as to shine in the light of contemplation. We descendants of Abraham, ‘children of the promise’ as Isaac was, having become ‘sons of God’ through the gift of the Holy Spirit, out therefore to see Christ form in us… Let us then for our part become forebears of Christ and continue steadfast in the faith, so that we may keep the feast of his Nativity, saying: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Synaxarion)
Among the lineage of Abraham was Jacob. The parents of Jacob were Isaac and Rebekah. The parents of Isaac were Abraham and Sarah. Thus Jacob, also called Israel, is the third patriarch of God’s people (by covenant). With his wives Rachel and Leah, as well as their handmaidens Bilhah and Zilpah, he had twelve sons — fathers of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob had an incredible life of struggle, pain and triumph.
Noah, an ancestor of Christ. He was an Old Testament Patriarch who lived at the time of the Great Flood. In his lifetime, he was judged by God to be the only righteous man left in the world. When God destroyed the world in the Flood, Noah and his family were saved in the Ark. The Ark is a type or prefiguration of the Church.
The Prophet Nathan was an advisor to King David and King Solomon. He is mentioned in the Prayer of Absolution in the Mystery of Confession: “It was God Who pardoned David through the Prophet Nathan when he had confessed his sin….” David had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, and had him killed. Then he took Bathsheba as his wife. David confessed his sin to Nathan (2 Samuel 12:13) and received pardon.
Blessed Name Day to our own Jacob, Noah & Nathan at St. Bartholomew! May God bless you always and grant you many years!