Friday, March 2, 2018

An Instrument in God's Hands

In today's first reading, Genesis 37: 3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a, we are presented with the story of Joseph, the youngest son of Israel whom Israel loved above all his sons and treated him as his favorite child.  Joseph's brothers grew to hate Joseph and, when Israel sent him to join them in the pasture where they were tending the sheep, they plotted to kill him. Reuben talked them out of doing so and suggested they sell him to Ishmaelites passing by on their way to Egypt. In the Gospel, Mt 21: 33-43, 45-46, we are given the parable of a landowner who planted a vineyard and leased it out to tenants.  At the time of the harvest he sent his servants to collect the produce.  The tenants beat some of the servants and killed others. So the owner sent his only son, believing that he would be respected and the produce given to him. "No!" They also killed the son.

We may respond in disbelief! However, how often have we, behind another's back, spoken ill of another person. Though we may not have plotted to commit murder, we may have "murdered" that person with harsh words and and damning judgments!   Concerning today's Scriptures, we know that God brought good out of both situations. Ruben saves Joseph from being put to death by his brothers and, in turn, Joseph, who was sold to the Israelites on their way to Egypt,  saved his brothers and his father from dying of starvation during a severe famine that hit that area. The son killed by the tenants in the parable Jesus tells the Pharisees is a foreshadow of Jesus being put to death on Calvary.

The questions I need to ponder are: Who am I in these Scripture readings? Israel playing favorites? Joseph who is given special treatment and thus hated by others denied the same favors? one of Joseph's brothers jealous of others, speaking ill of others, plotting against others? Am I a Reuben who intervenes for the sake of others? Am I one of the tenants intent on stealing the produce entrusted to me by another and resorting to whatever it takes to get what I want?  Or am I an upright, honest person, following Jesus' example?

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