Daily Reflection
July 9th, 2003
Dick Hauser, S.J.
Rector, Theology Department
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Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a
Ps 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19
Mt 10:1-7

Who of us has not been hurt by a member of our immediate family?  The deepest hurts in our lives come from those closest to us, often from parents and siblings.

Consider Joseph.  Imagine his hurt.  Genesis tells us that Jacob loved Joseph the best of all his twelve sons because he was the child of his old age.  And so jealous were the brothers they wouldn't even greet Joseph. When the opportunity presented itself they sold Joseph into slavery.  To disguise their act they slaughtered a goat and soiled Joseph's multi-colored tunic with its blood so Jacob would conclude that Joseph had been devoured by wild beasts.

But now the tables are turned and the brothers stand before Joseph, though not recognizing him.  They have come for grain.  For Pharaoh had appointed Joseph governor of all Egypt in gratitude for correctly interpreting his dreams and had given him power to distribute the grain stored up during the previous seven years of plenty to those now begging for help during the present seven years of famine.  Joseph recognizes his siblings, now all kneeling before him save Benjamin, the youngest, whom Jacob couldn't risk  sending lest some disaster befall him like Joseph's.

What will Joseph do? Turning away from them he wept, and poured out on them the largesse of Egypt -- no hatred, no vengeance.

"Families are forever."  We cannot disown or alienate ourselves from our parents and siblings without deep inner turmoil: for better or for worse we are inextricably connected to one another.  No matter how deeply we've been hurt or betrayed we must remain open to the grace of being reconciled in our hearts with parents and sibling -- even if we continue to be rejected by them.  It is a sad fact of human life that frequently the "enemies" Jesus asks us to forgive are those within our own families.

Joseph is our model.


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