Just as we heard about Peter’s loss of faith and Christ’s declaration that he would regain it, we hear this story of Jacob’s struggle. In comparing Peter’s account to this one about Jacob, we see that we have zoomed out. Peter’s story is individual, personal. Jacob’s story is universal, a summary of God’s work through Israel, God’s beloved children. Both stories are ours.
Both stories happen at night. In this advent stillness, God brings the light of day to reveal what has been made. Jacob encounters someone who draws him in. They struggle, yet Jacob holds on. With the coming of the light, Jacob is made new-he receives a new name, “Israel,” with all the truth that this name holds. Echoing this story set in the night, Peter may weep, but the joyous dawn of the resurrection is coming. Peter will be reclaimed as one of Israel, God’s beloved people.
Jacob’s confession, like Peter’s, names the One with whom he has wrestled. To see God and live is only possible in the mercy of Jesus Christ. This is the story of the Church in creation and God’s work in and through it.
Blessed are you, O Lord. By your Word you join us in a struggle of faith. Give us the strength to hold on until the coming of your Light and Life. Amen. — JCB