Divine Wrestling

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Another fascinating story today in our first reading from Genesis 32. Today we read about Jacob wrestling with a divine being. After something of a stalemate, Jacob gets his name changed. More in a moment. In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells the disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” True then, true today.

Jacob was alone. In the middle of the night, he was visited by a being. In Genesis 32, the being is called a man. In Hosea 12, the prophet says that it was an angel. Some theologians have said that it was the pre-incarnate Christ. They wrestled. And after the wrestling match, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, “because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.” However you slice it, this was one of those watershed moments in salvation history.

While this may not happen to me in a physical sense, I “wrestle” with God all the time. Isn’t that funny? I suppose it would be tantamount to an ant wrestling with an elephant. And yet I do it anyway. Instead of allowing God to put me in the proper place at the proper time, I fight back with all my might. I sweat and struggle, trying my best to impose my will on Him. So far it hasn’t worked. To this point, God is still undefeated, with all His wins coming by pin. Some day I hope to learn the lesson that I shouldn’t be wrasslin’ with him at all!

Father, forgive us for those times when we want to wrestle with you; to impose our will on you. Give us the grace to allow you to move us wherever and however you will. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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