March 9, 2012
Friday of the Second Week in Lent
(Joseph’s brothers) said to one another: "Here comes that master dreamer! Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams." When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying, "We must not take his life. Instead of shedding blood," he continued, "just throw him into that cistern there in the desert; but do not kill him outright." His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father. So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the long tunic he had on; then they took him and threw him into the cistern, which was empty and dry. They then sat down to their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and resin to be taken down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers: "What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh." His brothers agreed. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. (Genesis 37:19-28)
Remember the marvels the Lord has done. (Psalms 105:5)
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.' They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?" They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times." Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the Scriptures: Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." (Matthew 21:5:20)
Lord, help me to be faithful in doing Your work at all times, regardless of the people who try to thwart us. With You, I can stand strong.
Who are you in today’s readings?
Are you Joseph, the beleaguered favored son and “master dreamer,” envied by his brothers? Or Reuben, who felt cheated of his birthright as Jacob’s oldest son but wasn’t angry enough to want to see Joseph dead, yet decided he would save Joseph in secret rather than stand up to the other brothers? Or Judah, who interceded more actively to save Joseph’s life, but not to return him to the family? Or one of the other eight brothers, who were so jealous they wanted to kill the favored son?
Are you the landlord who trusted the tenants and kept sending servants and ultimately his own son, yet continued to forgive? Or the tenants who time after time sought to improve their own situation at the expense of the servants, the landlord, and the son? Or are you the servants or the son, injured or killed by opportunistic people in your life?
Consider the example of Joseph, who like the landlord in the story forgave and welcomed the people who upset his life and plans. What an example of turning the other cheek! We’re called to do the same. When people injure our bodies, minds, or spirits or those of people we love, revenge often is our knee-jerk reaction. It’s far more difficult to be spiritually indifferent and keep our eyes and hearts and souls focused on the Way. And yet, we must.
Invite someone who annoys you—not someone who poses physical danger to you—to dinner or coffee. Listen. Ask God about His love for the person.