Scripture: 1st Reading: Gen44,18-21,23-29;45,1-5; Resp. Psalm: Ps105,16-21; Gosp. Accl.: Mk1,15; Gospel: Mt10,7-15
Can any good come out of an evil situation? Does God go on holiday when negative things happen to us? Is there ever a lesson to learn from adversities? Does evil triumph forever? Do we respond evil for evil? Do we rejoice and gloat over the downfall of the wicked and celebrate the reversal of their fortunes? Do we see that reversal as opportunity for us to hit a fallen enemy very hard so as to completely bury and obliterate him from the face of the earth?
Let us pause and ponder on these questions as we reflect on the word of God today. The word of God gives us a different and completely "superhuman" response today. Ordinarily, a fallen enemy or evil person is one to rejoice over. That is the "normal" human response when one thinks of the sorrow this person had caused us. Joseph too was caused tremendous sorrows by his brothers, his own flesh and blood.
He was torn from the love of his father and sold into slavery and certain death. Joseph had an opportunity to pay his brothers back in their own coins. When he saw his brothers in Egypt as they came to buy grains, that presented him am opportunity to pay back. If he was like us, he would have paid them back in their own coins. But Joseph was not like us because he saw the hands of God in the circumstances of his life, the good and the ugly alike.
Joseph did a superhuman hermeneutics of what happened to him. He saw his slavery in Egypt and all its attendant sufferings as God's way of preserving the lives of the members of his family and the lives of countless other people who probably would have died when the seven year famine struck Egypt and all the earth. In his words to his brothers "and now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life."
Joseph saw his slavery as part of God's larger plan to preserve people's lives. What a reinterpretation of an apparent instance of misfortune as fortune! Joseph believed that ultimately, all things work together unto good for those who trust in God. Our Lord lived this particular teaching and made it known to His followers to understand and accept as their lives' motivation.
When He sent out His disciples to preach, He told them authority to perform the works He did Himself. He told them about the urgency of their tasks. He gave them their terms of reference and rules of engagement. He warned them that there were people who would refuse to listen to them. He told them to shake off the dust from their feet as a sign against them.
Our Lord thus made it clear to His Apostles that bearing witness to Him was never going to be a simple thing. In spite of the challenges, the reward for their fidelity would be great. Joseph too was faithful in his mission. He saw his travails as part of a larger plan and as result, He forgave his brothers for the wrong they did him. If we forget everything, even who we are, we must never forget this: God has a plan for our lives.
The different threads used for sewing the pattern our lives will turn out to be are supplied by the Master Artist Himself! He Himself is also the Designer! He cannot come out with anything less than beauty, grandeur and breathless splendour. Let us trust Him.
Let us pray: O God, you are our eternal Father. You have a plan for each of our lives. Grant us the spirit of forgiveness for the wrongs done to us. Give us your grace to wait unto you for the realization of your promises, which no earthly and human schemings can ever change. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.