Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip 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.’ So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then the man said, ‘You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. So Jacob called 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 hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.
Today is Tuesday the 9 July, in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time.
The monks of Pluscarden Abbey sing Domine praevenisti eum. ‘Lord, you advanced to meet him with rich blessings. You have placed a crown of precious stones on his head. As I listen, can I ponder for a moment the blessings the Lord bestows on me, all the things for which I want to give thanks to God?
Today’s reading is from the Book of Genesis.
Wrestling with God through the night is an intimate and fearful experience. It suggests that an encounter with God is not always an easy or passive experience. Can you remember experiencing something like this?
It may be good and right for me to stand up for myself and argue my case before God. This wrestling, struggling, helps me come to the truth. Only after the fight does Jacob realise he has seen the face of God. Many of us have an experience of wrestling with God; maybe we wrestle with an element of ourselves we find difficult to accept, or perhaps we wrestle with a call from God, or wrestle with our faith. Do I look back on a time I wrestled with God? …. Am I wrestling now?....
As you listen again to the reading imagine you are Jacob. What is your own personal struggle with God about?
Ask yourself whether there is something in your life that you should reflect upon and wrestle with?