14th Wednesday of Ordinary Time
Genesis 41: 55-57; 42: 5-7, 17-24; Matthew 10: 1-7
It is interesting how conscience tends to rear its head just when we think the past is said and done. When the sons is Jacob first disposed of Joseph, they simply sat down and ate their bread. Now, in the presence of this stranger, who was actually their alienated brother, they find their consciences troubled. “Alas, we are being punished because of our brother. We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us, yet we paid no heed; that is why this anguish has now come upon us” (Gen. 42:21). Guilt is not a bad thing, it can bring us to our senses and set us on the path to set right the wrong we have done. Our reason for hope is the victory of Christ over sin and death. Recall these words taken from the First Letter of John: ‘You belong to God, my dear children. You have already won the victory because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1Jn. 4:4).
The path for one attempting to live according to God’s commandments is repentance. I think Saint Luke states it best: “When the son came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough food to eat, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; teat me as one of your hired servants’” (Lk. 15:17-19). By God’s grace, we can return to a fuller vision of ourselves. Having been granted this insight, we can repent of our sins against God and then set to make amends to those we have offended by our actions. The story of Joseph is a dramatic story of repentance. The sons of Jacob are torn by their past guilt and their desire to get on with life. We find anger, forgiveness, and reconciliation among the brothers.
When Jesus commissioned the apostles, He instructed them to make this proclamation: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mk. 10:7). Unlike the kingdom of the world, the kingdom of heaven is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. In the kingdom of heaven, we are no longer strangers and aliens, we are brother brothers and sister in the Lord. Having been conformed to Christ, we can heal the wounds of sin and learn to live at peace. Mercy is not an option, it is the way of life for children of the kingdom. We can be our authentic selves when we extend love, mercy and compassion to those who have offended us. In the process, God can and does make all things new.