of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 5th, 2011
School of Nursing
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The thought of wrestling with a super power at first seems impossible. However, when we put that wrestling into our everyday lives, we can perhaps better understand. How often are we torn with doing what we know is right or doing what is the easy, more conventional choice? I see Jacob’s wrestling as symbolic of our daily struggles – while I don’t pretend that I wrestle with God, I certainly struggle with what He has taught and demands as the right way to live. In prayers, we ask for such perseverence to be able to survive this bout and move on. One only has to watch the news for a few minutes to see the struggles we all face – with each other and with the environment. Our faith is tested by forces and actions we may not understand but we must remain steadfast to make it through the night and see the other side.
The image of seeing the face of God was a powerful one for me. I thought about how many times we are blessed to see the face of God and I wondered how many times it is there in front of us but we don’t see! There is a beautiful line from the last song in the musical Les Miserables: “ . . . to love another person is to see the face of God.” It is clearly through our faith, our love for one another and for God that we are able to survive these earthly struggles. I can’t imagine what so many are facing this summer with the floods in the Midwest. Losing homes, land, livelihoods – yet I do believe they are not alone – the hand of God is there to hold them up, to support them as we are called to be there as good neighbors and help as we can.
These notions tie in nicely with the Responsorial Psalm and the belief that as we are just, we shall see the face of God. How do we practice justice in our daily lives? The concept of justice is not just for a few who may have vocations in which they must make just decisions, rather it is the very nature of our day-to-day lives. This psalm is such a beautiful representation of faith and trust. I need to be reminded of that from time to time. It provides me much comfort to know that no matter what, I do not walk these struggles alone. The psalm is an admission of the trials that we must live through knowing that we will prevail if we keep our faith. In this day and age, it is easy to think that if we do not win on our terms, we have lost. However, I have to believe that these victories will soon past – our prevailing is much greater than a victory here on earth. We are called beyond these earthly pursuits to a greater victory when we see the face of God. Gratefully, I am reminded that we were never promised an easy or smooth journey – rather one where we would never be alone through the turmoil and challenges. That promise is never broken!
Our gospel brings one other challenge to us – to be the laborers in this abundant harvest. As we have heard in readings since Easter, the apostles are only the beginning in the growing church. It rests upon all of us to continue to spread the word through our living example. I will close with the some words from St. Francis of Assisi. His statue stands amid my beautiful flowers where I am reminded daily of the face of God. St Francis had so many wise words – two phrases to consider today:
“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
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