GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings) DATE: 11TH JULY 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 11TH JULY 2017
MEMORIAL OF SAINT BENEDICT, ABBOT
FIRST READING: Genesis 32:23-33
PSALM: Psalm 17:1-3, 6-8, 15
GOSPEL: Matthew 9:32-38
THEME: FACING OUR FEARS
A quote about fear reads, “F.E.A.R. has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise”. We all have fears – named and unnamed. A moment comes in life when one would either have to stand up and face his/her greatest fear or forever remain the slave of that fear.
By going into a self-imposed exile for many years (about twenty years), Jacob had sought to avoid his brother Esau, the one from whom he had “stolen” a blessing. Now, the time had come for the two to meet. Will Esau kill him or spare his life? (cf. Gen 27:42). In his fear and anxiety concerning this encounter, Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac…Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him…(Gen 32:9-12).
The First Reading for today may well be considered as an answer to his prayer. In a religious experience, Jacob wrestled with an unnamed person. This person was unable to prevail over Jacob, and Jacob insisted that he blesses him before he lets go of him. Finally, he said to Jacob: “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed” (Gen 32:28). Jacob overcame his fear and when the moment finally came to meet Esau, the unimaginable thing happened: “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Gen 33:4).
The secret of Jacob’s success in life was that he knew how to wrestle spiritually and act astutely. He was a man of prayer and action. He carried with him a certain divine presence that could disarm a warrior. The presence of God in his life brought him immense blessings wherever he went. In fact his uncle Laban acknowledged this when Jacob came to stay with him in Haran: “I have learnt by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you” (Gen. 30:27).
We all have our particular fears. We all come to a point in life when the thought of a particular imminent event or encounter may scare us. It may be characterized by sleeplessness and restlessness. However, if God is with you, there is no need to be afraid. When God is with you, even your apparent attacker will turn out to be an instrument of blessing.
PRAYER: Eternal Father, with you on my side, who can be against me? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from your love in Christ Jesus my Lord.
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).