The Word of God

The Nerve!


Reflection on Mass Reading for July 9, 2019

“You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.”  Today we have been treated to an amazing reflection of human nature dispersed with a timeless wrestling match that still is fought at this very hour. “When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.” Jacob’s wrestling match through the night and the wound to his sciatic nerve represents all the battles of our lives, beginning with the biggest battle of them all – between the material and the spiritual, what is of below and what is above. It is the perennial struggle between light and darkness, good and evil. The Lord teaches us that in every struggle we are powerful, and can overcome our evil urges if we so desire. “Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said.” Spiritually and psychologically speaking: Nothing can harm us when we are on a spiritual high and feel strong and committed to our higher calling, that is, when we keep God right in front of us, face-to-face. But then there are times when we may feel overwhelmed by the struggle for material survival, overcome by material pressures, and spiritually disconnected. In times like these, we are vulnerable and prone to be wounded in the process of the struggle. “In justice, I shall behold your face, O Lord.” 

“A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.” We therefore have to acknowledge this weak spot, this exposed nerve by recognizing and remembering Jacob’s wound and the cure of the demoniac. The beginning of all healing is awareness of the problem. We are sensitive to the fact that our mindless immersion in material existence touches a nerve which leaves us wounded.

Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you. Unknown

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