Saturday, July 14, 2007

Genesis 50:15-21 - A Scriptural Lesson in Accepting the Will of God for us

This panel depicts vignettes from the lives of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. In the first scene, Isaac blesses Jacob. Following the ladder dream, Jacob anoints the stone at Bethel. Rachel takes her father's household gods. The scenes shift to Joseph as his brothers sell him into slavery and his interpretation of Pharaoh's dream. The final sketch shows an Egyptian laborer winnowing wheat.

I have a habit of leaving EWTN on at times when I'm working around the house. Often times, this means I encounter their reverent Masses, similar to our own at Assumption Grotto. I enjoy listening to the readings and the homilies, in particular, especially because they often get some really good homilists, in addition to the fine priests already there.

Perhaps it had something to do with the post I made earlier today on Victoria. But, I could not help thinking of how we should always accept the good and the bad things in life as being things that Our Lord permits to happen - for our good, or for the good of others. It is in this way that we become His instruments. We can resist how He plays us, or go along for the ride. In doing that latter, we build virtue and please the Lord, as it is what he exemplified in the way he went to the cross - like a gentle Lamb. God "tunes" us through the building of virtue and ordinary life gives us many opportunities for practice. Here on Earth, the results of God's work through us may not be visible, but we can hope to learn in the next life.

Recall that Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Here, we pick up a portion of the reading from July 14, 2007 - from the book of Genesis (50:15-21). My emphasis in bold.

Now that their father was dead,
Joseph’s brothers became fearful and thought,
“Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us
and now plans to pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!”
So they approached Joseph and said:
“Before your father died, he gave us these instructions:
‘You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you
to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers,
who treated you so cruelly.’
Please, therefore, forgive the crime that we,
the servants of your father’s God, committed.”
When they spoke these words to him, Joseph broke into tears.
Then his brothers proceeded to fling themselves down before him
and said, “Let us be your slaves!”
But Joseph replied to them:
“Have no fear. Can I take the place of God?
Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good,
to achieve his present end, the survival of many people.
Therefore have no fear.
I will provide for you and for your children.”
By thus speaking kindly to them, he reassured them.

What was a bad thing - being sold off by his own brothers - God was able to turn into a good - Joseph providing for his brothers and their children. They were also given an opportunity to repent and make amends and Joseph was given an opportunity to practice forgiveness.

We should strive to accept all that happens to us - the good, the joyful, the happy, the painful, the fearful, the evil, as something that God either wills or permits for our good, or for the good of someone else.

Deo Gratias!

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