He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had.
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip 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.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”
Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Your name will no longer be Jacob … your name will be Israel.” Genesis 32:28
In biblical times names did more than identify people. Names often revealed something about them. Concerning Mary’s child, Joseph was told in a dream, “You will name him Jesus—because he will save people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Similarly, in biblical times a name change indicated a change in a person.
When Abram and Sarai were chosen to parent a great nation, God renamed them Abraham and Sarah. This background helps us understand Jacob’s name change to Israel. He is now the official bearer of God’s promise to his father, Abraham. He is to father twelve sons, who will father the twelve tribes of Israel. They will be known as Israelites.
At baptism I was renamed Christian.
What does this name reveal about me?
How well am I living up to my calling?
The believers were…called Christians.
Acts 11: 26
Excerpted from Action by Fr. Mark Link, S.J.
© 2000 RCL Enterprise, Inc., Allen TX. For more prayer resources from Fr. Link, please visit www.staygreat.com
Lord, how we engage with family, friend, acquaintance, and stranger really does matter. You have called us by name to be your ambassador. What an awesome privilege and responsibility! When day gives way to night, may our role as your ambassador bring us joy and an aching to continue our mission.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!