Your name shall be called Israel, for you have striven with God and have prevailed
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 32:23-32)
In those days: Jacob arose at night and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and like wise everything that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “let me go, for the day is breaking,” but Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “what is your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “tell me, I pray, your name.” but he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” and there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “for I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh on the sinew of the hip.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM psalm 17:1-2.6-7.8 and 15 (R. 15a)
R/. In justice I shall behold your face.
O Lord, hear a cause that is just,
Pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
No deceit is on my lips. R.
From you may my justice come forth.
Your eyes discern what is upright.
Search my heart and visit me by night.
Test me by fire, and you will find no wrong in me. R.
R/. In justice I shall behold your face.
To you I call; for you will surely heed me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my words.
Display your merciful love.
By your right hand you deliver from their foes
Those who put their trust in you. R.
Guard me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
As for me, in justice I shall behold your face;
When I awake I shall be filled with the vision
Of your presence. R.
Alleluia John 10:14
Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my own, and my own know me. Alleluia
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers, are few.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 9:32-38)
At that time: Behold, a mute demoniac was brought to Jesus. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke: and the crowds marvelled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel. “But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest,”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Yahweh wrestles with Jacob and tests his endurance. He is given a new name and a new identity: Israel. This episode changes Jacob to a man of humility. Jacob’s experience is a paradigm for humanity that continuously ‘wrestles with God’ in prayer. We spent long hours seeking after God, struggling to know him, experience his presence, blessings, conversion and forgiveness. It is a battle of faith and perseverance. Paradoxically, in the gospel we see how Jesus’ own life is a battle of another type – a battle with the powers opposed to him. They charge him with the weirdest accusation, “it is through the prince of devils that he drives out devils.” Like Jacob, Jesus too was struck with the worst blows, but in the end his perseverance ensures his triumph. May we experience in a powerful way the presence of God in our battle with the powers of evil and emerge triumphant!