- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

February 26, 2016

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO
2nd Friday of Lent
Genesis 37: 3 – 4, 12 – 13, 17 – 29; Ps  105; Matthew 21: 33 – 43, 45 – 46

Some years ago there was a TV game show called “Family Feud”, it might still exist; the reading from Genesis could easily be labeled “Family Feud.” Clearly, Israel started the ball rolling; he made it very obvious that Joseph was his favorite. That alone irritated the other sons. Then Israel added to their irritation by giving Joseph the cloak of many colors and while he paraded around in it, the irritation increased.

Given to dreams, Joseph added insult to injury by revealing his dreams of superiority to his brothers; being called by them the “master dreamer” was not a compliment. In fact they were so enraged that they would not even greet him. We heard the details of their plot, his narrow escape from death and then their selling him to some traders. After all this, they had to concoct a story to cover their crime;  shamefully, they deceived their father.

So Israel lived out his days in profound grief, Reuben carried  guilt in his heart and the others were relieved to have Joseph out of their sight… no more nuisance, no more “master dreamer”.

And hidden in all this is the sovereignty of God. Nothing in God’s world happens by chance nor does it escape His notice, His power. If it did, He would not be God! On one occasion Jesus made this statement about the Father: “The Father is at work even now!” The now is an always “now.”

We know the end of the story – Israel, the family, lock, stock and barrel moved to Egypt where Joseph was second to Pharoah and everyone lived happily ever after. Ultimately, Joseph saw God’s hand in all of it.

What can we learn from this? Surely, there is nothing in life – good, bad or indifferent that God cannot change for the better in some way. But, that demands, of course, that we are willing for this to happen and are desirous to learn and apply His truth, the Truth our God desires for us.

The opposite, of course, can happen. We can curse reality. We can fall into self-pity. We can live at the margin. We can harbor ill-will. All of which is to fall into bondage. Or, we can pray, “Lord, Your will be done. All is under Your Sovereignty. Teach me. What do I need for my life, for my journey of faith? Lead me into Truth of freedom.”

The desire is ours. The Truth is God’s. We can be victims of life or co-creators with God. The one is of God, The other is not.