Saint for the day: Benedict (c. 480 – c. 547)
Genesis 32:23-33 – Psalm 17 – Matthew 9:32-38
“I in justice shall behold your face; on waking, I shall be content in your presence.” (Ps 17:36-38) Sorry for goof up in yesterday’s reflection. I think I have the correct dates, today!)
By way of reminder, it’s important for us to know that the Scripture readings that we hear in these weekdays are more or less each following their own way along a somewhat sequentially path and, therefore, may or may not relate well to each other. In today’s first scripture from Genesis we’re following Jacob on his amazing journey, which, today, brings him face to face with an “angel of the Lord.” There’s a struggle and Jacob’s hip socket is injured. There are many ways we can look at this account in order to understand better how we must encounter God. In the first place Jacob is sent out and away from his normal surroundings in order to be in new territory where God can approach him without Jacob being too confident in his own, normal surroundings. At first, he’s given a vision of angels going up and down a huge staircase that touches into the very gates of Heaven. Then, after his fight with the angel, he’s given a new name: “Israel” and begins a totally new phase of his life. But notice: he is left with a limp to remind him that he has wrestled with an angel of God and prevailed and his life will be very different from now on. In today’s Holy Gospel Jesus heals a demoniac who couldn’t speak. Even though there is no mention of how Jesus did this, the crowds are amazed and the Pharisees say, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” There’s a lesson here for us to grasp: in the first place we should never block God’s healing presence just because of our finite notions of how God should act or bring about healings in our lives. We have to remember that God is no respecter of persons and we have to allow Him to be “moved with pity for the people because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” Bottom line? We almost always have to adjust our way of expecting God’s healing power to take place in our lives. Sometimes we might have to wrestle angels (or devils) in order for God’s healing hand to touch our lives. The good thing, though, is that God knows us through and through and will never push us beyond our limits but we have to know that any encounter with God will always leave us changed is some way or other. Amen!