Reflection for Tuesday, July 5, 2005: 14th week in Ordinary Time.

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Pedersen, Cathy Weiss
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"Jesus' heart was moved with compassion for them because they were troubled..."||Life has its 'ups' and downs'. The 'ups' or good times are always welcome. However, when the 'downs' appear, we may become defensive, obstinate, angry, frustrated, fearful, resistant, etc. 'How or why can 'this' (whatever is disrupting our day, week or life) be happening to me?' ||How do I deal with struggle in my life? At times, facing a deadline or an obstacle in my work, I 'dig in, grit my teeth, and plow on ahead,' determined to not allow the presenting problem to get the better of me. Other times when dealing with an irritating situation I may attempt to approach with a positive attitude, hoping that some of the 'rough' edges of the situation might dissipate. On the other hand, if something seems impossible ( 9-11) or insurmountable (personal crisis), I then realize that I need help. I suppose it's such times that I struggle with the 'why' of the situation, maybe even leaning to denial initially. In the face of being overwhelmed I turn to the God-spirit within, ask for guidance and try to patiently discern what, if anything I can do to alleviate the situation. At such times, I'm probably most open to also enlisting anyone who might assist me - friends, family, and/or professionals.||Today's readings address struggle... ||In Genesis, Jacob wrestles a stranger through the night and suffers a hip injury. In the morning the man begs Jacob to allow him to leave. However, Jacob insists that the man bless him before he can go; however the man will not honor Jacob's request that he reveal his name to Jacob. Jacob believes that he has seen God in the struggle.||Initially I questioned Jacob's good sense in asking the stranger for a blessing after the injuring struggle. What a strange request! And, how could such an event lead Jacob to see God in the struggle?|| Synonyms for 'blessing' are: approval; consent; go ahead. Upon further reflection, Jacob's request for a blessing with the wrestling stranger could be Jacob's way of making peace with the struggle so that Jacob could 'go-ahead.' Perhaps if I attempted to embrace and accept the struggles in my life rather than deny or resist their existence, I might more readily make peace with them in order to address what needs to done.|| In today's Gospel, Jesus heals the mute man, as well as curing people's disease and illnesses. And, "...his heart was moved with compassion for them because they were troubled and abandoned." Jesus truly cared in a very human way and was not solely caught up in the 'doing' of his ministry call of teaching, proclaiming the reign of God and healing people. Jesus was 'being' to and with the people he encountered on his journey.|I know that I don't have to experience life's struggles alone. Not only can friends, family or professionals assist and 'be' with me. God deeply and compassionately (with feeling) cares and will enter into life's struggles with me...if only I remember to open myself to the God-spirit within and around me.||My prayer is that I/we can remember that we do have a loving, caring God who is ready to be invited into our everyday lives of 'ups' and especially the 'downs,' and that we, like Jacob, will then"...see God face to face."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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