MEMORIAL OF SAINT BENEDICT, ABBOT
> Genesis 44:18-21,23b-29;45:1-5
> Psalm 105:16-17,18-19,20-21
In today's first reading at Mass we return to the unfolding story of the life of Jacob, and therein, the story of his sons. Yesterday we were introduced to Joseph, the 11th of 12 sons, eventually sold into slavery by his brothers, but now the viceroy of Egypt. Fate has reunited Joseph with his older brothers, as they come to Egypt to beg for food during the global famine. In Genesis 43:6-7 we read: "Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground ... But Joseph concealed his own identity from them and spoke sternly to them." Joseph's heart is hardened with a deep hate fueled by pain, isolation, and resentment.
The drama continues today in Genesis 44 and 45. After passive aggressively toying with his brothers, Joseph's emotion peaks and we read: "Joseph could no longer control himself in the presence of all his attendants, so he cried out, 'Have everyone withdraw from me!'" Joseph clears the room and "no one else was about when he made himself known to his brothers." Brimming with emotion, "his sobs were so loud that the Egyptians heard him, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace. 'I am Joseph,' he said to his brothers."
His brothers are stunned, silenced, and mortified. We can only imagine the fear that gripped their heart. However, God's grace moved profoundly. Joseph, in a moment of grace continues, 'I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.'"
Wow. Talk about freedom. Joseph is freed from his pain and resentment as he is able to forgive.
Joseph will never forget what his brothers did. The event will forever be a part of his history. However, the grace of God enables Joseph to look at his brothers, not simply what they did. Joseph looks at the person, not just the event.
Likewise, once you and I let God into our pain, resentment, and unforgiveness we recognize we are no longer "alone" in the pain. With God, in communion, we no longer need to protect ourselves. We no longer have to look at the pain alone. This frees us to no longer only look at the event. We can now see people as people rather than looking at people as the author of events. It is easier to forgive people than it is events.
Who is the Lord calling you to forgive? Where do you feel trapped or enslaved in unforgiveness? There, where it is difficult to forgive, are you looking at the person or the event? And, most importantly, are you looking at things with God or apart from God?
Today's story of Joseph gives us courage. Be not afraid: you are not alone. Ask the Lord to show you where He's calling you to forgive.
© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013
> CLICK HERE FOR TODAY'S UPDATE ON LUMEN FIDEI: ENCYCLICAL FROM POPE FRANCIS
TODAY AT IPF
Today, the 169 seminarians in the Seminarians Summer Program continue with their new course on the Liturgy. Today they will learn more about the nature of God's always giving Himself to us and humanity's being designed to receive God. The 22 priests and seminarians here for the Spiritual Exercises are on day 13 of the 30-day retreat. > Click here to learn more about IPF
TODAY'S QUOTE FROM POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI
"Authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others."
― Spe Salvi, no. 28
PETER KREEFT, PH.D.: [PART 2] "CAN WE PROVE THAT GOD EXISTS?"