Friday, March 17, 2017

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28, Psalm 105:16-21, Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46


God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life. Jn. 3:16

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28, Psalm 105:16-21, Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28

My soul's beloved, everything we read in the passage chosen for today's Liturgy is pregnant with allegory of You. All that Joseph experienced is a foreshadowing of Your own life. The passage opens with the verse, "Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons." Scripture records the Father's voice being heard, "This is my beloved Son, listen to Him." To You the Father gives all rule and authority. He sent You into the world as Joseph was sent to his brothers who were tending their flock. The chosen people of God had their priests, their rabbis, their Pharisees and Scribes to keep alive the promise given to them of the Messiah. Yet when You came into the world they rejected You. They hated You with a visceral hatred and they began to plot against You almost from the beginning of Your public ministry. They hated You for many reasons one of them being that You claimed that You were the Son of God sent into the world as the Messiah they were waiting for. You did not fit their preconceived idea of the Messiah and they were enraged at all the signs and wonders that could not be done except through the power of God. Many believed in You and they saw this as a threat to their carefully established status quo. 

As soon as the opportunity presented itself the brothers plotted to put Joseph to death just as the Jewish authorities plotted to destroy You. There were some in the Sanhedrin who wanted to prevent this atrocity that they were planning, like Reuben tried to save his brother and as Pilate's wife warned him not to have anything to do with their plan to murder You. But they were already too far gone in their sin. Evil had found a home in their heart and they were dead to reason. They orchestrated all that happened skillfully from the moment of Your arrest in the Garden and until they saw Your side pierced and they were certain their plan had succeed. The had committed Deicide. They had killed the Man, the Son of God. Joseph was one of them and rejected it and Scripture says of You, "He came unto His own and His own rejected Him."  Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites and Judas sold You for 30 pieces and they gave You up to the Roman authority so Roman soldiers could do the dastardly deed that the law prevented them from doing.

Joseph's brothers agreed to the sale of their brother just as Judas, one of the 12 conspired with the Jewish authorities to sell You.

How often do I sell out on You my Beloved? Forgive me and help me try to do better every moment of every day.
Psalm 105:16-21

My soul's beloved the psalmist recalls the fate of Joseph who was sold as a slave and we recall that You to became a slave in order to set us free from the captivity of sin. It was God who ordained that the evil done to Joseph by his brothers rebound to their good and the good of all the people of Israel, just as God ordained to send You into the world to redeem us all. Joseph was weighed down with fetters, bound with chains, thrown into  prison until the time of God's choosing. You too were bound, shackled, imprisoned but to a far far greater  purpose - the salvation of the whole human race.  All that the law and the prophets had said was fulfilled in You, just as all Joseph's predictions came to pass. And when You were nailed to the Cross, after the barbarous, scandalous, torture You were subjected to, as You gasped painfully to breathe forth Your Spirit in Your dying breath the world was given new life. Death was dealt a final blow. Sin no longer had power to shackle and hold captive and just as Pharoah made Joseph lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions so did God exalt You above all and over all making You the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. At Your Name heaven and earth bows and worships and all who believe in the Name above every other name is saved.

Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: 
"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

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