Reflection on the Daily Readings for 7/07/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Tue. of 14th week. Genesis 32:23-33. Psalm 17:1.2-3.6-7.8.15.
Matthew 9:32-38. Lectionary #384:
We all are interested in learning how to live in the presence of God. In
fact, we try to do this when we pray. The Scripture for this morning helps
us to see that others some three thousand years ago were conscious and
interested in living in the presence of God. Jacob in wrestling with an
envoy from God continues to struggle all night long and upon being released
from the grasp of this mysterious being (an angel or a manifestation of God
himself), he finds that his hip is out of place. There are not
chiropractors nearby for a number of millennia so the poor man will limp
through life with a painful sciatic nerve from the hip that shoots down to
his toes. The giving of a new name to him commemorates the event and his
own mission. He now is known as Israel or the one who wrestled with God.
About forty years ago there was a story written about the Cistercian reform
and movement in a book about a "Man who wrestled with God." That had to be
based on today's reading. Then the Jews do not eat the sinew which shrank
and is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day. There also is a naming
of the place where this took place as Jacob realizes it is God wrestling
with him:"And Jacob called the name of the place Penuel; for I have seen
God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen.32:30). He definitely was
in the presence of God.
The Psalm helps us to think about the presence of God and to live within
that presence: "In my justice I shall see your face, O Lord." (Psalm
In the miracle given in Matthew, it is Jesus who sees the one needing a
cure; then he is looking at the crowd and is moved with compassion for they
are like sheep without a shepherd. He turns his face to the poor, the
widows, the sick and reaches out to them not only in word but in deed. But
he needs help and today we are called to be his helpers. He needs our
hands, our feet, and our cooperative heart and mind. His plea reaches our
ears, "The harvest is good but the laborers are scarce. Beg the harvest
master to send out laborers to gather his harvest." Whenever we reach out
to those in need and to our neighbor we become those laborers for the Lord
and then we see the face of Jesus in them. Amen.
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