Read Genesis 32:23-33, Psalm 17 and Matthew 9:32-36 

“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 in life: those who complain and criticise continuously and those who know how to make the best of their circumstances in life; that is, 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 is doing all that by the power of Beelzebub (the prince of demons). Honestly, there are some persons who 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, there is Jacob in our first reading who 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 the wrestling all through the night, Jacob did not complain, instead, he thought of a way to make the best of 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, for he had successfully wrestled with God and man and prevailed. Jacob’s life would never remain the same. His new name, Israel to this day has become synonymous with all the blessings God promised to Abraham. A name is more than a means of identity; it could either be a blessing in itself or a curse. This is why we take naming ceremonies serious.

Dear friend, which category do you belong to? Do you constantly catch yourself complaining about others; carrying stories which you have not verified; deliberating partaking in character assassination? Or are you a Jacob who knows how best to take advantage of whatever may be his or her situation? When last did you ask for a blessing from your parents or from an elderly person?

When Jesus saw the huge crowds of people in need of healing, He was so 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) obviously had become distracted by other things. Jesus called them hypocrites; white-washed tombs, blind guides. May God save us from bad shepherds.

Jesus concluded that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few and immediately asks that we pray to God to send more labourers. Notice that Jesus identified the problem and immediately thought about a solution. Jesus suggested the cure for poor leadership; Prayer! 

Pray that God sends more labourers into the harvest. Pray for your leaders, pray for your shepherds, pray for me! As you pray for us, perhaps, you too might begin to hear the call of God. Perhaps, God will open your eyes to see many areas where you too can contribute your quota towards solving the problem of scarcity of labourers in God’s vineyard.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, I will not let you go unless you bless me. Use me as your instrument now and always. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of week 14 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Genesis 32:23-33, Psalm 17 and Matthew 9:32-36).