_Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you, have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)
There are two categories of people: those who complain (and criticise continuously) and those who know how to make the best of their circumstances (those who take advantage of whatever comes their way).
While Jesus was going about healing the sick and freeing those oppressed by demons, some persons from among the crowds were busy running their mouths (criticising Jesus), saying He was doing all that by the power of Beelzebub (the prince of demons). Honestly, some people are just impossible to please. There is nothing you do that would not warrant their attack. Whatever you do, they must talk.
On the other hand, however, in our first reading, Jacob said to the man he had wrestled with all night: “I will never let you go unless you bless me.” It is interesting to note that despite wrestling all night, Jacob did not complain. Instead, he thought of a way to improve his circumstances. Jacob, despite having been blessed tremendously by his father, Isaac asked for more blessings.
The blessing Jacob got was a change of name. Jacob was given a new name: Israel. The name indicates one who had successfully wrestled with God and man and prevailed. Jacob’s life would never remain the same. His new name, Israel, has become synonymous with all the blessings God promised Abraham. A name is more than a means of identity; it could be a blessing or a curse.
Dear friend, do you constantly complain about others? Or are you a Jacob who knows how best to take advantage of whatever may be their situation? When did you last ask for a blessing from your parents or an older person?
When Jesus saw the vast crowds, he was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Those who were supposed to shepherd the people (bring them to God, pray for them and attend to their spiritual needs) had become distracted.
Jesus concluded that the harvest was plentiful, but the labourers were few. He asked that we pray to God to send more labourers. Jesus did not complain. He identified the problem and immediately found a solution. Pray that God sends more labourers into the harvest. Pray for your leaders, pray for your pastors, pray for me!
You may have noticed some bad shepherds. Instead of complaining of spreading rumours about them, do what Jesus says: “Pray to God to send more labourers into His harvest.” God might also call you into the priesthood and religious life; pray for the spirit of discernment. Accept this call and be determined to make a difference. Perhaps your vocation is to contribute to the training and support of labourers in God’s vineyard. Agreed, there are bad shepherds. Why not encourage the good ones?
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, I will not let you go unless you bless me. Use me as your instrument now and always. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Bible Study: Genesis 32:23-33, Ps. 17:1-3,6-8, Matthew 9:32-37).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu