Scripture: 1st Reading: Gen32,22-32; Resp. Psalm: Ps17,1-3,6-8,15; Gosp. Accl.: Jn10,14; Gospel: Mt9,32-38
Whatever has a beginning in time must have an end in time. Jacob went to Padan-aram, to Laban's house, to look for a wife. By default, he ended up with two wives and eleven children. He was also blessed with cattle, servants and riches. When the time came, he decided to go back home.
The blessing of God can get to us wherever we are. The blessings of God can overwhelm us no matter the plans of men to the contrary. Jacob became a man of blessing, a source of blessing. Even as he was returning back to his father's house, he wrestled with an unknown figure throughout the night and the other could not prevail against Jacob.
At daybreak, this heavenly figure was about to depart. Jacob held on to him and told him he would never let him go unless he blessed him. The blessing was epitomized in a change of name, which was symptomatic of a change of life. Jacob's name was changed to Israel, because he "has striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."
Jacob beheld the face of God and lived. That was so because he was a man of blessing. God guarded him as the apple of His eye because of his fidelity to the God of his fathers. He was filled with the vision of God's presence because he committed his life totally to Yahweh. He because a model of God's blessing to all generations.
Our Lord Jesus was not a model or source of blessing. Our Lord is the blessing of God to humanity personified. This was what the Pharisees never understood about Him. When He cast out the demon that had held the poor mute demoniac for years, the crowds marvelled that they had not seen anything like it in Israel. On the other hand, instead of appreciating the marvels of God, the Pharisees objected that our Lord was casting out demons by the prince of demons.
Our Lord, as the blessing of God personified, was not deterred by the wrongful and damaging ascription. He went on doing the good for which His Father had sent Him to earth. He went about teaching, preaching, healing, showing the compassionate face of God to the helpless and hapless people who were in need of His presence to bring about a change in their fortunes. He saw the harvest of souls as plentiful but the labourers as so few to accomplish so great a task.
St. Benedict, whose memorial we celebrate in today's liturgy, was a man of blessing both in name and in the manner of his life. Early in his life, he totally dedicated himself to God and became a hermit at Subiaco. He later moved to Montecassino where he founded a massive monastery for the contemplative life.
The history of the Church will be incomplete without a mention of this illustrious figure who is regarded as the father of Western monasticism and the father of interior life. He founded the Benedictine monastic order that has made and continues to make incalculable contributions to the church and society. He left home and everything; God became his everything and blessed him beyond his imaginations. He became a source of God's blessings.
We are called too to become sources of God's blessings in the life of others. We are invited by virtue of our discipleship to be salt and light to the earth. We are called to make that difference to the situation of others' existence. May we become alive to our vocations.
Let us pray: "O God, who made the Abbot Saint Benedict an outstanding master in the school of divine service grant, we pray, that putting nothing before love of you, we may hasten with a loving heart in the way of your commands." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.