Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 32,23-33

That same night he got up and, taking his two wives, his two slave-girls and his eleven children, crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had taken them across the stream, he sent all his possessions over too. And Jacob was left alone. Then someone wrestled with him until daybreak who, seeing that he could not master him, struck him on the hip socket, and Jacob's hip was dislocated as he wrestled with him. He said, 'Let me go, for day is breaking.' Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.' The other said, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he replied. He said, 'No longer are you to be called Jacob, but Israel since you have shown your strength against God and men and have prevailed.' Then Jacob asked, 'Please tell me your name.' He replied, 'Why do you ask my name?' With that, he blessed him there. Jacob named the place Peniel, 'Because I have seen God face to face,' he said, 'and have survived.' The sun rose as he passed Peniel, limping from his hip. That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh sinew which is at the hip socket: because he had struck Jacob at the hip socket on the thigh sinew.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jacob is going through a difficult time. He is on his way back to the promised land, but he is afraid of the impending meeting with his brother Esau, whom he had left on bad terms. He wants to re-establish a peaceful relationship with Esau. He knows well that only the restauration of fraternity can bring peace. In the uncertainty of loneliness Jacob needs to wrestle with a mysterious presence. The text does not immediately identify this figure, as if to help us discover him together with Jacob. In fact, over the course of his journey, Jacob seems to have forgotten about the company of God. But the Lord has not forgotten him, even more the Lord is at his side and wrestles with Jacob to force him to recognize the power of his closeness again. This Bible passage suggests that the life of a believer is always a struggle against oneself. We are so bent on ourselves that we easily forget the Lord's love and closeness. The lord's company is not marked by a tranquil habit made of rites and precepts to observe; on the contrary it means struggle against oneself and the evil of the world starting from an intense dialogue with the Lord. We can also say that faithfulness to the Lord requires a struggle for fear for God's holy things and the fear of emptying his words. From the moment of the struggle Jacob will have his name changed into Israel to mean the new mission he received that of fighting with God the good battle for the salvation of the peoples. The struggle against oneself to be with God is also the struggle with God against the evil that destroys the peace of the peoples. Struggling with God - that is seeing God face to face as Jacob says - is the time of prayer and listening to be able to participate with the Lord in the history of salvation of all peoples of the earth.