July 11, 2017


July 11, 2017:  St. Benedict, Abbot

See 10 connections with today?
Legend at bottom


For 1st reading

  • Gn 32:23-33  Some man wrestled with Jacob till dawn.  When the man saw he couldn't prevail, he struck Jacob’s hip, then said“You'll no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but Israel, because you contended with divine and human beings and prevailed.”  Jacob named the place Peniel, “Because I have seen God face to face but have been spared.”  At sunrise, he left, limping along because of his hip.
  • Ps 17:1b, 2-3, 6-7ab, 8b, 15  "In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord."  Your eyes behold what's right.  Show your mercies.  Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
  • Mt 9:32-38  Jesus drove the demon out of the mute demoniac brought to him.  Crowd:  “We've never seen anything like this.”  Pharisees:  “He drives out demons by their prince.”  Jesus went everywhere, teaching, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing diseases.  He was moved with pity for the crowds because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.  To his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but laborers few; ask the harvest master to send laborers.”
    • Creighton:  I've wrestled with God, and myself.  When God calls, I can resist, surrender, resist again....  We wrestle with problems, temptations, irritations, and other things; we wrestle instead of relent and accept.  The Wrestler persists; may we accept his will....
    Jesus was “moved with pity because they were troubled and abandoned.”  Why would people abandon others in their own community?  Why would those who can alleviate others' suffering not do so?  Why would people ascribe a dark purpose to the Healer?  Why does society abandon its suffering members?  Why don't people and institutions help more?  If we believe Jesus' message, we should help and try to get to the root of the problems.  Perhaps the wrestling is between our call to act and our complacency and risk aversion.  Maybe we see people as others' problem, not our opportunity to share God’s love.  Maybe we don't want to confront poverty, illness, and abandonment.  Maybe we distinguish helping someone in front of us from fighting forces that put people in need.  May we surrender to the Wrestler, act individually, and encourage others to act collectively to be Jesus’ partner in helping troubled and abandoned sisters and brothers.
    • Name of the day:  Penuel  (1st reading)
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Contending or tending?"  Jacob contended with an angel and prevailed.  A Jacob lurks in each of us:  Jesus calls us to labor for the harvest, but we can contend with God and try to avoid the call.  Jesus had his own troubles when he told us to pray for workers:  the Samaritans' rejection and religious leaders' accusation of collusion with Satan.  But instead of contending with his Father or others, he showed compassion.  He calls us to die to self and follow him in laboring for those in need.  Will we fight the Shepherd or tend his sheep?
    • Passionist:  Jacob is heading home with a guilty conscience after having deceived his father and stolen his brother's birthright.  He had to confront his unresolved conflicts and troubled past.  His wives, children, servants, and possessions don't help him on the way to face his brother; he stands alone at the Jabbok (related to Hebrew for 'wrestle') and meets a mysterious man (Hebrew 'Ish').  'Ish' can mean man, angel, or God.  Is Ish the ghost of Isaac?  Esau?  Jacob’s doubts and fears?  All of the above?  After Jacob wrestles with Ish, he receives his new name/identity, "Israel, for you've striven with God and men and prevailed.”  In confronting his demons, he discovered God and grew in faith.  Ish left Jacob with a limp; we all get damaged.  We too are called to cross the threshold, to leave false security behind, to wrestle with our ghosts and demons.  Our striving with Ish can strengthen our faith; only through life’s struggles will we discover God with us, even in suffering, misfortune, and evil.  Our loving God limps with us on our way home.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Never seen anything like this":  Jesus set the demoniac free and restored his speech, to the crowd's amazement, but Pharisees attributed his work to the devil because they were closed-minded, proud, and rigid.  When people approached Jesus with faith, he set them free.  As his miracles caused both scorn and wonder from those who professed faith, we can encounter the same reaction, even in ourselves.  We can be too narrow, set in our ways, unwilling to change, to submit to Jesus, love God and others, and be set free....
    St. Benedict
    Dress legend
    • 'Angel' pin with wings:  Jacob wrestles with angel  (1st reading); Hide me in the shadow of your wings (psalm)
    • 'Heart' pin:  You test my heart (psalm); Jesus' heart was moved with pity... (gospel)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  ...because they were like sheep without a shepherd  (gospel)
    • 'Car' tie pin:  Jesus 'drove' the demon out  (gospel)
    • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus cured every disease and illness (gospel)
    • White and green shirt:  White for St. Benedict memorial, green for Ordinary Time season

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