Thursday in the Fourteenth Week of the Year, July 11, 2019 

Sent in Poverty, to Reap Bumper Harvest
When Joseph was sold to Egyptians, he was “sent” on the mission of saving his brothers, as he realized years later. He repaid the evil his brothers had done to him with the good of saving them from famine.
Jesus sends his twelve apostles to announce the kingdom of heaven. They have to be detached from possessions, even from people. They are to be poor also in the sense that they must accept the insecurity of not being received well. Perhaps we could retain these words of Jesus today: you received without charge, give without charge: your love, your service, your commitment, even your life. 

1 Reading: Genesis 44:18-21, 23b-29; 45:1-5
Judah approached Joseph and said: “I beg you, my lord, let your servant speak earnestly to my lord, and do not become angry with your servant, for you are the equal of Pharaoh. My lord asked your servants, ‘Have you a father, or another brother?’ So we said to my lord, ‘We have an aged father, and a young brother, the child of his old age. This one’s full brother is dead, and since he is the only one by that mother who is left, his father dotes on him.’ Then you told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him. Unless your youngest brother comes back with you, you shall not come into my presence again.’ When we returned to your servant our father, we reported to him the words of my lord. “Later, our father told us to come back and buy some food for the family. So we reminded him, ‘We cannot go down there; only if our youngest brother is with us can we go, for we may not see the man if our youngest brother is not with us.’ Then your servant our father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife bore me two sons. One of them, however, disappeared, and I had to conclude that he must have been torn to pieces by wild beasts; I have not seen him since. If you now take this one away from me, too, and some disaster befalls him, you will send my white head down to the nether world in grief.'” Joseph could no longer control himself in the presence of all his attendants, so he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!” Thus no one else was about when he made himself known to his brothers. But his sobs were so loud that the Egyptians heard him, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace. “I am Joseph,” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still in good health?” But his brothers could give him no answer, so dumbfounded were they at him. “Come closer to me,” he told his brothers. When they had done so, he said: “I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 105:16-17,18-19,20-21
R. (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done. or: R. Alleluia.

When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave. R.

They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true. R.

The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions. R.

Alleluia: Mark 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel: Matthew 10:7-15
Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” 

The moment of Joseph’s self-disclosure to his brothers is one of the Bible’s most poignant scenes. It would have been cruel and disrespectful for Jacob’s youngest son to be taken from his father and brought to Egypt. It would have broken the patriarch’s heart and indicated that the brothers had not learned the lesson of what they had done to Joseph years before.
All of this proves to be too much for the kind-hearted Joseph. He dismisses the others present and speaks only to his brothers, revealing that he is the one they had rejected years before, that he is Joseph, their brother. He tells them not to feel deep remorse because God has turned misfortune into good. Through his present office, Joseph is now able to save many lives, including that of Israel and his sons.
Early in his pontificate, Pope John XXIII received in audience a group of rabbis. His simple greeting touched them all: “I am Joseph, your brother.” This friendly posture of the pope opened a new era not only of Jewish-Christian relations but one of positive developments with those of other faiths, a harbinger of things to come in the ecumenical life of the church.
Jesus today sends his emissaries on that initial mission of peace and love. Or in the words of Francis of Assisi: Pace e bene! “Peace and good.” This is not a cry of condemnation or reproach, only a message of saving peace. The truth is that more good is accomplished through kindness and understanding than through harshness.
It is a lesson worth heeding. 

We have received without charge all God’s forgiveness and life. Let us also give them without charge and generously pass them on to one another, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!


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