July 6, 2021 – Tuesday 14th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070621.cfm)
When we are in the middle of a crisis in our relationships, or in terms of our health, financial and economic etc., this brings us to fall into our knees and call for God’s help and blessing. Such need would make double our prayers. Some would visit churches and offer candles to the saints so that their petitions will be heard. Others would call their friends and ask for prayers too. However, our anxieties and fears could crush us to the point of losing our peace of mind.
This is not totally strange. A person who feels uncertain what lies ahead would certainly be disturbed. This situation is told to us in that story of Jacob, who wrestled with God.
Jacob was troubled and was in great distress. He was with his two wives and children but chose to be left alone to spend time with himself. He was about to meet his twin-brother Esau who had 400 men waiting for him. Jacob felt that his brother must be desperate to kill him to avenge the deception he did with his mother, Rebekah, by stealing the blessing from their father, Isaac. Aside from this, he must have been disturbed by his guilt for that crime he committed.
Because of this, Jacob must be looking for comfort from God. However, instead of comfort from the Lord, a man came and wrestled with him. This was not what Jacob expected. Yet, Jacob also wrestled with all his strength to seek the blessing from that man. Jacob did not surrender though his hip was dislocated.
Jacob realized that it was God who wrestled with him. In seeking God’s blessing, Jacob was persistent until God blessed him. This is the reason why he was renamed from Jacob (which means deceiver) to Israel (which means who wrestles with God).
Now, Israel realized that he had a face to face with God, and with that he had been transformed by the Lord. This tells us that our struggles and every wrestle with God is an opportunity for us to have a face to face with God. Remember, God makes himself more present when we are vulnerable and weak. This is signified by the dislocation of the hip of Jacob.
God uses our weaknesses, illnesses, fears and anxieties as windows for the Lord to reveal his power in us and his blessings for us. This is what we find as well in the Gospel today. A man was brought to Jesus. He was made dumb, he could not speak because the demon in him prevented him. But when this man had a face to face with Jesus, he was transformed. The demon was driven out, and the man found freedom and began to speak. This is another story of blessing and transformation.
The encounter with Jesus was the blessing and that blessing transformed the man to be free and his sickness was that window to let God’s power be manifested.
This is the invitation for us today. We might be wrestling with a particular issue, problem, challenge, or sickness or concern at this very moment. This could have caused us with sleepless nights, feelings of fear, desperation and weakness, loneliness and anxieties. However, God comes in a surprising way, as he did it with Jacob.
God invites us to wrestle with him in those moments of difficulties. Not to be afraid but to find our strength in the trying moments of our life. As we would wrestle with God in our prayers, let us be open also to God’s surprises because his blessing may not be in the way we expect it to be or would imagine it. But, like Jacob, at the end we shall blessing and transformation in the way God desires it to be. Like the possessed man who was healed and freed, our face to face with Jesus in our moments of desperation and trials, will also bring us healing and freedom. Hinaut pa.