1st Reading: Gen46,1-7,28-30; Resp. Psalm: Ps37,3-4,18-19,27-28,39-40; Gosp. Accl.: Jn16,13; 14,26; Gospel: Mt10,16-23
Many of us are paralyzed at the thought of a new beginning, a new enterprise, a new appraisal of things. We want to stay where we are. We do not want to dare in order to discover. Many times too, we are afraid of failure. We prefer the known to the unknown. We are comfortable in our comfort zone. We often do not want new beginnings because we think the success rests on us. We rely on our own strength, abilities, ingenuity to arrive at success. We forget the presence of the One who makes all things possible.
Jacob in today's reading was going down to Egypt. He was already an old man. In his younger days, he had travelled to far away Padan-aram. He had seen and experienced a lot. Old age was not the time for new experimentations. With age, the interest in novelties diminishes. But there was also here a necessity: there was famine in Canaan, so there was no food. Secondly, Joseph was a distinguished man in Egypt and so Jacob knew his family would be well treated. The third reason was the assurance he got today from Yahweh, the God of his fathers.
God told Jacob that he should not be afraid to go down to Egypt. He told him that He would be with him. He assured him that He would make him a great nation even while there in Egypt. In other words, the promises made to Abraham and Isaac would still be fulfilled. When Israel would have become a nation in Egypt, Yahweh would bring him up again! In a nutshell, God gave Jacob the summary of what would happen in more than four hundred years!
At the time of going down to Egypt, Jacob and all his children and grandchildren and servants could not have numbered two hundred persons! But God was telling Jacob that by the time his children would live Egypt, they would be a great nation already. And it came to pass! The reunion of Joseph in this same scripture shows to us that God never abandons His own and that the elevation of any mortal was His sole prerogative.
The Salvation of the just, of those who trust in Him, comes from the Lord Himself. He is their salvation in times of distress. He helps and rescues them because they place their trust in Him and take refuge in Him. This was exactly what our Lord told His Apostles in today's gospel. He warned them that they He was sending them out to preach to enemies of the word. He put them on notice that those opposed to the word of truth would maltreat them.
He assured them that they should not be anxious about their defence. The Spirit of their Heavenly Father would speak in them. He warned that closest blood relatives would be glad to hand on their believing relatives so that they could be put to death. This would happen because of their hatred for the name of Jesus. In spite of persecution, the believer is to continue his mission of preaching and witnessing to Jesus because only those who endure to the end would be saved.
No matter the circumstance, God will go down with us. No matter the situation, His presence will be with us. No matter the opposition, His sovereign will will triumph. No matter what man says and plans, at His own appointed time, He will bring us up again, He will rescue and save us. These are the assurances He gave to Jacob today as he was going down to Egypt. These are the assurances His Son gave His apostles today. These are His assurances to us today!
Let us pray: God our heavenly Father, we believe and trust in your power. We know you are present in all the circumstances of our lives. Assist us, open our eyes to your presence. Help us to hold firmly to you in every situation and trust your power to take care and sustain us. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.