Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Book of Genesis 49:29-32, 50:15-26a, Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, & Matthew 10:24-33
Today's readings are an interesting mix. They are about inviting relationships between parents, children, siblings, disciples, and, of course, God and Jesus. We especially have to pay attention to what is being said. In the Book of Genesis, the story of Jacob, Joseph, and the wicked brothers continues. The psalmist speaks of the sons of Jacob as the "chosen ones." In the Gospel narrative, Jesus encourages His disciples. He assures His followers that God loves and watches over them. Yet, He closes with a stern warning about denying Christ.
My friends, one of the many things I love about God's Word is that there is no sugar coating it. The "bad" guys are, well, bad, and what happens to them is made quite plain. There is no room for interpretation. There is no wiggle room, and nothing is ever lost in translation. Or is there? We all know the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors.
Today, the story continues. As Jacob is dying, he gives detailed instructions to his sons about his burial. The sons then go to Joseph and say, "Dad just died, and he said that even though we tried to kill you, you are to forgive us." Incredibly, Joseph buys it! At the end of the story, Joseph gives his brothers explicit instruction on his burial. After all that has occurred, the psalmist refers to them as "sons of Jacob, his chosen ones." Could it be that we are to conclude that God can use an imperfect human being to accomplish His will?
In our Gospel, Jesus instructs, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body. Be afraid of the one who can destroy the soul." He tells us that God knows every hair on our heads. And, He cares when a sparrow falls to the ground. At this point in the narrative, everything is perfect—and then it comes. Jesus says, "Whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." These words seem to be such a stern command. For me, however, it's not so tough. On a few occasions I was ridiculed when I wore my collar in public. I said a prayer for that person and then life moved on. But what of the people who have been and still are being jailed for professing their faith? How can we support our fellow Christians who are afraid to acknowledge Christ in public? Our Lord is explicit on who we should fear and who we should acknowledge. Today, we have to listen to what Jesus said. Don't you agree?
Question of the Day: Will you pray that God's message today seems simple when your next opportunity to forgive comes along?
Prayer: Lord, give us the courage to proclaim your Holy Name throughout the entire world.