July 8, 2021
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 44:18-21, 23b-29, 45:1-5
Judah approached Joseph and said: “I beg you, my lord,
let your servant speak earnestly to my lord,
and do not become angry with your servant,
for you are the equal of Pharaoh.
My lord asked your servants, ‘Have you a father, or another brother?’
So we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father,
and a young brother, the child of his old age.
This one’s full brother is dead,
and since he is the only one by that mother who is left,
his father dotes on him.’
Then you told your servants,
‘Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him.
Unless your youngest brother comes back with you,
you shall not come into my presence again.’
When we returned to your servant our father,
we reported to him the words of my lord.
“Later, our father told us to come back and buy some food for the family.
So we reminded him, ‘We cannot go down there;
only if our youngest brother is with us can we go,
for we may not see the man if our youngest brother is not with us.’
Then your servant our father said to us,
‘As you know, my wife bore me two sons.
One of them, however, disappeared, and I had to conclude
that he must have been torn to pieces by wild beasts;
I have not seen him since.
If you now take this one away from me, too,
and some disaster befalls him,
you will send my white head down to the nether world in grief.’“
Joseph could no longer control himself
in the presence of all his attendants,
so he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!”
Thus no one else was about when he made himself known to his brothers.
But his sobs were so loud that the Egyptians heard him,
and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.
“I am Joseph,” he said to his brothers.
“Is my father still in good health?”
But his brothers could give him no answer,
so dumbfounded were they at him.
“Come closer to me,” he told his brothers. When they had done so, he said:
“I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt.
But now do not be distressed,
and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here.
It was really for the sake of saving lives
that God sent me here ahead of you.”
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
’Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”
For you parents, I know you can relate to preparing for a time away with your children – vacation or visit.
Remember how you filled your car with snacks, books, activities and clothes – clothes to wear, to change into when those clothes got dirty, clothes to replace those when they didn’t like them, etc. We tried to be prepared for everything. We didn’t want to be caught unawares.
And we were just going to be entertained somewhere.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us that we were doing it wrong. Don’t be prepared. Actually, don’t take anything with you – no money, no food, no extra cloak or sandals – nothing.
Instead, you count on the goodness of those you meet. Find a good person and stay with them and don’t move about. If, there are no good people – if you aren’t made to feel welcome – then leave. Just shake it off like the sand on your sandals.
Don’t become that which you just experienced. Forgive them and move on.
Then, we have the story of Joseph in Genesis.
We’ve been following, recently, the story of the reacquaintance of Joseph and the brothers who sold him into slavery when he was young. Joseph is the second most powerful man in Egypt and he has saved Egypt – and the world – from starvation.
When his family comes for grain they don’t recognize Joseph because he has affected the Egyptian dress and such – they believe him to be an Egyptian.
When Joseph went out with his brothers that fateful day, he had no idea he was about to be sold by his own brothers. He wasn’t prepared for anything like that.
And when he meets them again and now, he is the man of great power he decides to do evil for evil. He wasn’t willing to just shake it off like sand from his sandals.
His intent was to take away the youngest son who had replaced him. There was evil in the heart of Joseph.
But, the God of Jesus, our great Adonai, spoke to Joseph’s heart through his brother. When his brother explained it was his father Jacob who would be harmed the most by taking the young son away.
Joseph’s heart was softened – or broken. He repented and was reunited with his family.
But it took God to lead him to forgiveness.
Today, if you have any malice for a brother or sister, let me be the voice of God to you, like Judah was to Joseph.
Let go the hurt. Step back and shake it off. Forgive the one who hurt you. It will be better for you and the world.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…