Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scripture we are brought to the two story presented in those readings, beginning with the story of Joseph and his brothers in our first reading from the Book of Genesis, as well as the story of the parable of the evil tenants as told by the Lord to His disciples in our Gospel passage today. Both stories are parallel in meaning and significance, and we ought to heed these well.
With regards to the occasion of Joseph and his brothers, they, as the sons of Jacob, then also known as Israel, were disagreeing over the preferential treatment that Joseph enjoyed over that of his brothers. For the context, Joseph was the first and one of the only two sons born from Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel. The other sons were born from his first wife, Leah, as well as the maidservants whom Leah and Rachel appointed to bear children in their name.
As Joseph was born from his beloved and favoured wife, and as a child of his old age, Joseph was favoured over that of his brothers, who then became very jealous and angry over such preferential treatment, that Joseph got twice of whatever it is that they received from their father. And Joseph, who began to receive from God signs and revelations through dreams, shared with his brothers how his brothers and even his father would bow down to him, the brothers had enough and most of them wanted to get rid of him immediately.
It was only thanks to the intervention of Reuben, the eldest child of Jacob, that those brothers did not end up killing Joseph, and rather placed him in a well where he remained until the brothers then decided to sell him off to a slaver caravan from Midian heading off to Egypt. Everything would then go on just as how God intended it to be, as Joseph would then on be freed and even made to be the Regent of Egypt by the Pharaoh after his merits and wonderful deeds by God’s grace. All that God had revealed through Joseph’s dreams would indeed come true.
More importantly, brothers and sisters in Christ, we see in that case what jealousy, anger and human desire can lead us into. Even brothers can turn against brothers just over those disagreements, the jealousy and the anger present among them. And this relates well to our second story, the one from the parable of the Lord regarding the evil tenants who refused to pay their dues to the landowner and master of the vineyard.
In that parable, the evil tenants whom the master of the vineyard entrusted with the care of their respective plots became greedy and did not want to relinquish control over, and neither did they want to pay their rental dues, as should have been agreed between them and the vineyard owner. When those servants were sent by the master to remind them to fulfil their obligation, these servants were oppressed, ridiculed and even killed.
When the son of the owner was sent in the end, those evil tenants as mentioned went even further and desired those lands to be their own possessions by striking down the son and heir of the vineyard. Once again, we heard just like in the first reading today, of how human desires, the temptations of glory, wealth, power and influence can lead us into so heinous and evil a deed, when brothers plotted and wanted even the death of their own brother, and when the evil tenants brought so much suffering and death to those servants and the son of the vineyard owner sent to remind them of their dues.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, what is then the significance of these to us? It is that we have the need to oppose and resist the temptations present all around us, that we do not end up falling into the trap of sin and doing what the brothers of Joseph and the evil tenants had been doing. We are all called to be more humble, be more charitable and move away from the selfishness of our hearts, that instead of focusing only on our own desires and wants, we become more aware of the needs of others, and how we can help and contribute.
This season of Lent, let us all answer God’s call for us to be more genuine in how we live up to our Christian faith. Let us make use of the opportunities given to us to turn back towards the Lord and to repent from our sins. Let us all be good role model and examples for one another in faith, so that in everything we say and do, we may be exemplary and become good inspiration for one another so that we may help more and more people to reach the Lord’s salvation and grace.
May God be with us always and may He guide us through these journeys of life we have, so that we may grow ever deeper in our faith and dedication to Him, that we may be closer to the Lord and be worthy of His eternal glory, forevermore through our dedication and love, in humility and in our selfless love for Him and our fellow brothers and sisters. Amen.