Scripture: 1st Reading: Gen49,29-33;50,15-26; Resp. Psalm: Ps105,1-4,6-7; Gosp. Accl.: 1Pet4,14; Gospel: Mt10,24-33
One of the most fascinating stories of turnarounds in history is that of Joseph in the Bible. God elevated him and placed him over and above those who hated him and wanted his downfall and death. But Joseph too was a virtuous man, a man after Yahweh's heart.
After the death and having obeyed the burial wish of Jacob their father, the brothers of Joseph became afraid that he would repay them for the evil they did to him. But Joseph was never intent on vengeance, because he knew that vengeance belonged to God. They asked him for forgiveness for the evil they did to him.
Instead of glorying in his brothers' defeat, the word of God today states that Joseph wept when his brothers sued for peace and forgiveness from him. The answer of Joseph should be memorized and taken to heart by all believers so that we can learn not just wisdom, but more importantly, the ability to let go and let God.
Let us hear how Joseph replied his brothers: "Fear not, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Joseph reassured and comforted them in these words! He promised to provide for them.
We must remember that once the enemy has been defeated by God on our behalf, the battle was not fought by us. We cannot therefore claim the victory. We must also not forget that a defeated enemy is already finished, brought down, fallen, lying flat on the ground. He cannot be more humiliated than this; his dignity cannot be more wounded. Even if we trample upon him in this state, our action cannot inflict any more damage. God has brought low his pride. Let us leave the rest to God Himself!
As a result of his fidelity to the God of his fathers and his extraordinary disposition of soul, Joseph lived to see his children's children to the third generation. Yahweh the God of his fathers blessed him and throughout his entire life, he was the leader of his brothers. In fact, Joseph became their father, provided for them. That is the reward for fidelity to God. That is the recompense for anyone who chooses to learn from Him and conform his life to the pattern of God, not to that of this world.
Joseph did not know our Lord. But the words of our Lord today would have comforted him had he lived to see the days of the Son of God. Talking to His disciples, our Lord told them that a disciple is not above his teacher, not a servant above his master. Our Lord said this to warn them that people would maltreat them as they would maltreat Him.
Our Lord however comforted them by reassuring them to have no fear of them. He told them to be bold to proclaim the message they had been entrusted with. He charged them not to fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. He assured them that their Heavenly Father valued them greatly, to such extent that the hairs on their heads were all numbered! He commanded them to bear witness to Him and that at the last day, He in His turn would acknowledge them before His heavenly Father.
God has a plan for each of us. He will fight our battles for us if we fully trust in Him. He would not let His beloved be defeated because He places a priceless value on them. We are of great value before our heavenly Father. Let us allow Him to deploy His powers on our behalf. Let us not be afraid because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.
St. Bonaventure used his entire life and talents to bear witness to class. He was a man of outstanding intellectual abilities and he used this to teach about the mystery of the Father who sent His Son to redeem and save us. May he intercede for us to have such an ardent love for God and show this love to others.
Let us pray: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure, we may benefit from his great learning and constantly imitate the ardour of his charity." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Enjoy a restful weekend.