St Maria Goretti, virgin & martyr
14th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Tuesday 6th July 2021
Gen. 32:23-33; Ps. 16:1,2-3,6-7,8,15;
Mt. 9:32-38 (Ps Wk II)
I was bemused by today’s first reading and wondered if it were possible to make sense of it either for myself or anybody else. Admittedly, the reading explains the origins of a place name and a personal name and the reason for a taboo against eating a certain kind of food. Admittedly, like Jacob, I too, wrestled. I wrestled with the passage itself in the conviction that the daily Mass-goer must leave Mass with something more than merely interesting information.
Today’s reading does indeed have a message for us. This message leaves us in no doubt about God’s special care for the people of Israel and his desire to bring his message of love through them to the widest possible audience. God, however, was aware that their privileged position might go to their heads and lead them to trust too much in themselves and their abilities. This would weaken them for God’s work. Jacob, taken as a symbol of the people, had to be shown that his cunning, verging on dishonesty, and his great physical strength could hinder God’s plans.
Some of the stories in the early part of the Bible are puzzling and sometimes a little shocking in their attitude to morality. For example, in the people of Israel, God was dealing with a tough, primitive people who had to be led slowly through pain and suffering to an attitude to live which would make them worthy of God’s call to be a light to the world.
Here I am, Lord; lead me in Your ways.