“Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen God face to face,’ he said, ‘yet my life has been spared.'” Genesis 32:33
Jacob saw God and lived, and because human life prevailed, Jacob was re-named Israel. These are the type of stories from our Bible that we Catholics perceive as mysteries. We will never be able to fully understand them, but we are drawn to them because they resonate deeply within our souls. Perhaps this is because they are stories where God directly interacts with His creation.
We are part of God’s creation, and all human beings on this earth, whether they know it or not, long to be close to their Creator. Jesus, who is referred to as our Shepherd, sees His sheep and knows they desire to rest with their own Shepherd. In the gospel for today, Jesus is moved to pity because His people are abandoned and troubled. They are lost and need to return to the right Shepherd.
The biblical verses from both Genesis and the gospel are read as stories from the past. However, the world of today is changing, and more people are circling back to these past stories. Our modern times seem to hark back to an older time as we once again seek our Shepherd. “The harvest is abundant and the laborers are few.” Matthew 9:37
The time is coming when the sheep will go to their Shepherd again. God is drawing closer to us, and we may be fortunate enough to look upon His face and be spared, just like Jacob/Israel.