Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm not fighting you....

Today's first reading is Genesis 32:23-33, where Jacob (soon to be Israel), wrestles all night with "some man." The man can't prevail over Jacob until he belts him in the hip. Here's the passage:

In the course of the night, Jacob arose, took his two wives,
with the two maidservants and his eleven children,
and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
After he had taken them across the stream
and had brought over all his possessions,
Jacob was left there alone.
Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.
When the man saw that he could not prevail over him,
he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket,
so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.
The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
The man asked, “What is your name?”
He answered, “Jacob.”
Then the man said,
“You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel,
because you have contended with divine and human beings
and have prevailed.”
Jacob then asked him, “Do tell me your name, please.”
He answered, “Why should you want to know my name?”
With that, he bade him farewell.
Jacob named the place Peniel,
“Because I have seen God face to face,” he said,
“yet my life has been spared.”

At sunrise, as he left Penuel,
Jacob limped along because of his hip.
That is why, to this day, the children of Israel do not eat
the sciatic muscle that is on the hip socket,
inasmuch as Jacob’s hip socket was struck at the sciatic muscle.

We can see the whole episode as a struggle with sin. I've been haunted by my sins lately, both those I have left far behind, sunk in the ocean of God's Mercy by the Sacrament of Confession, and more painfully, those I carry around with me and commit over and over and over again.

I'm afraid that if I was Jacob and some man wrestled with me, I'd just say the hell with it and walk away. If he pursued me, I'd probably try a little diplomacy, get his mind on something else, get my mind on something else. If he yet persisted, get angry and feel picked on. Lastly, I'd run. The battle would never have been fought and he could find me and wrestle with me another day.

God grant me the courage to accept the wrestling matches you send! To be brave in the face of sin!




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"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

Pres. Barack Obama, Feb 5, 2009