Then Judah stepped up to him and said, “O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father or a brother?’ And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’ Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.’ Then you said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’
When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.’
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer.
He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
One time I lost my car keys for two days. I was in a mildly panicked until they were found (between the couch cushions). I felt such relief and joy upon finding them. In today’s first reading we have the story of Joseph revealing his identity to his brothers when they come to ask for food from him in Egypt. When he does, his brothers are so “dumbfounded” that they can give no answer to him. If I was in a mild state of panic over losing car keys, I can only imagine what Joseph’s family, particularly his father who loved him so much, was thinking after so many years of separation. The joy of finding what had been lost was almost too much to take in.
Joseph’s response shows such forgiveness to the brothers who had betrayed him. Rather than getting revenge, he says that “it was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” Joseph allowed God to work for good in the midst of his trials. In what areas of life might we be open to God working good through our challenges?
—Jim and Lauren Gaffey. Jim is a science teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep. Lauren is the Charis Ministries Program Coordinator for the Office of Ignatian Spirituality, and does work for the Midwest Jesuits.
Lord, in the midst of our trials and challenges, we know you are with us. Open our hearts to allow you to work through us, for your ultimate greater glory.
—Jim and Lauren Gaffey