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Thursday – Fourteenth week – OT1
Readings: Gen 44:18-21, 23-29, 45:1-5; Mt 10:7-15.
1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 44:18 Then Judah went up to him and said, “O my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, `Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20 And we said to my lord, `We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children; and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your servants, `Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes upon him.’ 23 Then you said to your servants, `Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’ 24 When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. 25 And when our father said, `Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26 we said, `We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, `You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 one left me, and I said, surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.’45:1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, I pray you.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 10:7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. 9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
I. THEME: We must do God’s will in all events of our life.
In God’s wise providence, there is nothing that accidentally happens; all things which happen for an individual, a family or a community are for a reason. A proper attitude which people must have is to find out and to do God’s will to benefit themselves and others, not to complain, to question or to blame on God and others because of their ill fate.
Today readings point out for us to see God’s will in all small and big events of people’s life. In the first reading, after had time to reflect on his own life and things that happened and were happening for his family, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and said, “For God sent me before you to preserve life.” In other words, God prepared Joseph’s life in advance to save his family later, even he must endure his brothers’ jealousy and cruelty. In the Gospel, it is for people’s salvation that Jesus called his disciples to train, to give power and to send them out to preach the Gospel for all nations.
1/ Reading I: It is to preserve life that God sent me before you.
1.1/ The old father’s love for his children: Since Joseph wanted to meet Benjamin, his brother, so he kept Simeon back in Egypt in their last coming there. He commanded them that they must bring Benjamin to see him before he shall release them all to their land; if not, they should never see him again.
When the brothers said these things to Jacob, he sincerely said to them, “You know that my wife bore me two sons;one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since.If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.” Jacob believed his son Joseph was devoured by a beast as his sons said to him.
1.2/ Joseph revealed himself to his brothers: When heard what his brothers said about their father, Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” When no one stayed with him, then Joseph made himself known to his brothers.And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.
(1) His brothers’ reaction: They were dismayed at his revealing. They felt ashamed because of what they had done for him. They couldn’t say a word because they were so shameful.
(2) Joseph’s reaction: So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, I pray you.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
As a human being, Joseph can revenge by keeping his brothers as his slaves; but he didn’t do that. He forgave them because he believed all things, which happened in his life and family, are in God’s providence. God sent him to Egypt to prepare a way and to protect life for himself, his family and many nations. Many authors liken Jesus to Joseph because he must also endure all sufferings to bring salvation for all people.
2/ Gospel: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
2.1/ The disciples’ duties: Jesus selected his apostles and trained them for a purpose. He knew that He is going to leave this world to be back to his Father, he trained them so that they can replace him to continue the mission of preaching Gospel to all people. The purpose of the preaching Gospel is for people to recognize God’s love for them. God wants people to believe in Christ to attain happiness with Him in heaven.
(1) What they need to do: Their first duty was clearly spelled out by Jesus’ command: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” In order for people to believe in the apostles’ preaching, Jesus empowered them to heal all kinds of diseases, spiritually and physically: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” The purpose of healings is for people to recognize God’s power and to believe in Him, not to show-off or to have financial gains. Jesus also commaned them, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
(2) What they shouldn’t do: Since Jesus knew that the material temptation can make his disciples to forget their duty to preach the Good News, so he commanded them:
– Don’t look for gold or money: A loyal disciple of Christ is never permitted to search for these things. The day they look for these things, their preaching shall loose its effect and they are no longer Christ’s true disciples.
– Don’t bring so many things with them: Many say this teaching isn’t practical because if preachers keep moving from place to place, and don’t bring with him necessary things, when they need them, where can they find? The main thing which Jesus wanted to teach us here is that a preacher must live a simple life. If he has so many things, how can be ready to move on to far away regions to preach the Good News? Moreover, Christ also wanted for his disciples to completely trust in God’s providence, because “the laborer deserves his keep.” God shall never let preachers of the Gospel die on their journey.
2.2/ Find the worthy’s house to dwell: In God’s providence, He continually urges the rich to have generosity so that they shall take care preachers’ material needs. This is why Jesus taught his disciples: “Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave.”
(1) The rewards for those who welcome Jesus’ disciples: Jesus continued to teach them, “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.”
(2) The punishments for those who reject Jesus’ disciples: “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.”
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– When an event happens in our life, we should meditate and find out what God wants us to do, and then quickly do according to His will.
– All God’s teachings have its own reasons because God never does useless thing. If we don’t recognize them, let pray so that the Holy Spirit helps us to recognize His will.
– God let us exist in the world for a purpose. We should recognize that purpose and quickly fulfill it before we return to Him.