Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard the story in the first reading which was taken from the Book of Genesis. In that passage, we heard about the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob known also as Israel, and Joseph was one of the twelve sons he had. The twelve sons of Israel would eventually become the twelve tribes of Israel, the people of God, whom later on He would call out of Egypt and bring to His Promised Land.
But today, we heard about the time long before all those events occurred, at the time when Joseph incurred the wrath and jealousy of his brothers because of his dreams and the preference shown unto him by his father, who lavished many gifts on him and his brother Benjamin, because they were born from his favourite and beloved wife in his old age. Thus, they plotted against him, threw him into a well, and sold him off to the Midianites who brought him to Egypt.
Joseph ended up in the land of Egypt as a slave, and he was wrongfully accused of sexual impropriety when the daughter of his master seduced him and Joseph refused her advances. But God did not forget about Joseph, the son of Israel, and instead, all of these has been in His plans and as part of His will all along. Joseph was sent before his brothers and his family to Egypt, because a great famine was coming into the world, and he was sent there to prepare the way for them and to ensure their survival and well-being in the years to come.
And thus, we came to what we heard in today’s passage, when the brothers of Joseph came to Egypt in order to buy food for themselves and their family, meeting Joseph whom God had made to be the great Regent of the entire Egypt, the second in command after the Pharaoh or King of Egypt himself. They did not recognise him at first and gave him homage in the manner as Joseph’s dreams had foretold it.
But Joseph did not return the malice and the evil deeds shown unto him during his youth by his brothers with vengeance and wrath. Instead, he still loved them and deeply cared for them all, even though it must indeed have been painful for him to suffer separation from his family and to endure the sufferings in slavery. He took good care of them and treated them well, even though he feigned to test them at the start, so that he might be able to see his brother Benjamin.
Eventually, the whole family of Joseph would be reunited, and Joseph would reunite with his father Jacob or Israel. The entire people of God would relocate to Egypt, until the time when the Lord rescued them and brought them out of slavery into the Promised Land. This is what we have heard in the passage today, and what we believed had happened with our forefathers in faith.
Then, in today’s Gospel, we heard about how Jesus our Lord called His twelve Apostles, the principal disciples whom He called to be those upon whom He entrusted His missions and good works among His people. The choosing of the number twelve among the disciples was symbolic, as the number twelve also represents the number of the sons of Israel, the tribes of Israel of which there are also twelve in number.
Through the Apostles, God showed His love and mercy for us all mankind, just as He had shown His mercy to His people, through the rejected son, Joseph, whom his brothers had betrayed and sold off to the slavers. Joseph had been ill-treated, and he has been rejected, and yet, through him, God made his people prosper in Egypt, and they were saved from their predicaments.
In the similar manner, Jesus the Son of God and Son of Man, has also been rejected by mankind, His brothers and sisters, as God made it so when He assumed the flesh of man and chose to be born of the Virgin, Blessed Mary His mother. He has become the rejected cornerstone, or keystone, cast away by the builders, as the Scriptures said. Yet, it was through Him that God had saved us all mankind, by the outpouring of His love through the cross.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what we have heard through all the readings, are the stories of how God brought salvation to His people, through His everlasting love for us. What all of us Christians need to do, is first for us to realise that we are the successors of the Apostles and to all that God had commanded them to do. Let us all therefore, now, do our best as Christians, in order to fulfil that obligation, that is for us to bring the Good News of God, the truth of His salvation and love to our brethren.
Let us all rededicate ourselves to the Lord, and renew our faith in Him with ever greater fervour and commitment, filled with zeal and hope, that in all we do, in all that we say and act, we will always bring glory to God and His Name. May the Lord, Who have shown us His love through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and by His loving sacrifice on the cross, bless us always with His love. Amen.