First Reading: Genesis 32:23-33
He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Tell me, I pray, your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peni’el, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penu’el, limping because of his thigh. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh on the sinew of the hip.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 17:1-3, 6-7, 8, 15
Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From thee let my vindication come! Let thy eyes see the right! If thou triest my heart, if thou visitest me by night, if thou testest me, thou wilt find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. I call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God; incline thy ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show thy steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at thy right hand. Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of thy wings, As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form.
Gospel: Matthew 9:32-38
As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
When I was awakened that morning by the cries of a child having a nightmare, I knew it was going to be one of those days. Exhausted from the life that was growing inside of me, and feeling the pounding of a migraine coming on, it was a day I was just going to have to get through.
Admittedly my patience was wearing thin before my feet even hit the ground . . . a day when if I had learned from past experience, I should have set out to let more go. Instead, it was a day we would spend a grandma’s house (one where I always want to be at my best in terms of parenting), and letting things go was not in the plan.
Fast forward to naptime and a four-year-old whose nap was cut short by about two hours. In an attempt to relax and try to enjoy the time alone with just this child, I allowed him to watch a short video on my computer. Just as the second (or third) one finished, a list of videos popped up for another viewing, and I noticed a few questionable clips. I immediately shut the screen and declared we were done with videos. Just as abruptly as I overreacted, my little boy, who had no clue why I just put an end to everything, not-so-calmly told me he wasn’t finished.
What followed was a moment of discipline that I didn’t have the gumption for that particular day. It ended with tears from one, and a cry for help from the other. The cry was from me, much like the psalmist “I call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God; incline thy ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show thy steadfast love . . . .”
I questioned my motherhood, my discipline decisions, even wondering if I was already too late to correct the behavior of my little one. Then, I felt bad, and as I often do, I internally questioned if that four-year-old knew of the depth of my love for him.
God answered me: in the form of that same little boy coming to my bed that evening, laying his little head next to mine and saying, “Mommy, I love you, and I always will, with the whole of my heart . . . even when you make mistakes.” Hugging him, I asked him who would love him even when he made mistakes. He responded, “God!” and then followed quickly with, “and my Mommy.”
I will. I always, always will . . . just as God will us.
Is it one of “those days” for you today? Call out to God, and let Him show you His love.
Britt Fisk is the wife of Jeremy and mother of four young kids. She spends her days living simply in the-middle-of-nowhere-New Mexico helping with the family beef cattle operation. You can find out more about her here.