Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 8:26-30; PS 13:4-5, 6; Lk 13:22-30
Notes: The ancient story of Jacob and his encounter with the Angel is instructive for today’s gospel portion.
Jacob’s story is compelling. If you have time for it start at Genesis chapters 28-32.
Jacob was always contending (striving – today’s gospel word).
- Even in birth Jacob and Esau contended (ch 25)
- Jacob’s theft of birthright(ch 25)
- Jacob’s deception (ch 27)
- He strived for legitimacy with his brother Esau.
- He strived with his Father-In-Law Laban.
Then he encounters an Angel of the Lord (perhaps a pre-appearance of Christ).
Then the man said, “You shall no longer be named Jacob, but Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.”
In all his contending, he must finally contend with God.
The Lord God has always been good to Jacob. Always blessing and helping him in his struggles.
Jacob becomes Israel because he contended with God.
Hosea 12:5 says it differently (more accurately in fact)
He contended with an angel and prevailed,
he wept and entreated him.
At Bethel he met with him,
and there he spoke with him.
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will.
We think we know, but we don’t.
But for the mercy of God who asks for us what we do not ask for ourselves.
We think we contend and ‘defeat’ God or coerce God but all we do is come near so He can save us.
My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
Strive to go from being Jacob to Israel.
Our strength is our sincerity before the Lord.
Peace be with you,