Go And Proclaim The Kingdom
Driven by famine, the brothers of Joseph go to Egypt to buy food. Without knowing it, they meet Joseph, now ranking right after Pharaoh in the country.
Jesus sends out his apostles as healers of the ills of people so that the new era of the kingdom of God can begin. They, and we too, have to be healers in a world that is harsh and pitiless and much in need of healing. Let the forgiveness and compassionate love we receive from God renew this world and make it God’s world and kingdom.
1 Reading: Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a
When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them. When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt. In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world. The sons of Israel were among those who came to procure rations. It was Joseph, as governor of the country, who dispensed the rations to all the people. When Joseph’s brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground,
he recognized them as soon as he saw them. But Joseph concealed his own identity from them and spoke sternly to them. With that, he locked them up in the guardhouse for three days. On the third day Joseph said to his brothers: “Do this, and you shall live; for I am a God-fearing man.
If you have been honest, only one of your brothers need be confined in this prison, while the rest of you may go and take home provisions for your starving families. But you must come back to me with your youngest brother. Your words will thus be verified, and you will not die.” To this they agreed. To one another, however, they said: “Alas, we are being punished because of our brother. We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us, yet we paid no heed; that is why this anguish has now come upon us.” Reuben broke in, “Did I not tell you not to do wrong to the boy? But you would not listen! Now comes the reckoning for his blood.” The brothers did not know, of course, that Joseph understood what they said, since he spoke with them through an interpreter.
But turning away from them, he wept.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19
R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness. R.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations. R.
But see, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine. 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 10:1-7
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
Twelve is an interesting biblical number. It immediately suggests the twelve sons of Jacob, the fathers of Israel’s twelve tribes. Their conduct was not always beyond reproach, as in today’s reminder that they had sold their brother Joseph into slavery and now lived as if the event had long been forgotten. In today’s reading, they come before their exalted brother in Egypt in search of food at a time of serious famine. They do not recognize Joseph. He, on the other hand, while stem with them during the encounter, is moved to tears. He asks that they bring their youngest brother, also dearly beloved of Jacob, to Egypt, and all will be well.
The thought of separating their youngest brother from their father evokes the memory of the cruel separation of Joseph from his father years before.
Christ chose twelve apostles, symbols once again of the twelve tribes of Israel and the sons of Jacob. Today they are commissioned to announce the reign of God to the children of Israel. During the earthly ministry of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, the kingdom is proclaimed only to the Jewish people, the universal mission coming only after the resurrection.
Life is a series of successes and failures, of joys and disappointments. The brothers of Joseph begin to feel the remorse for their brother’s loss that they should have felt years earlier. The twelve apostles, so buoyed up by their faith, set forth to proclaim the inauguration of God’s reign. Sadness and joy, failure and success—these are the lot of Jesus and of every disciple.
God sends us to be healers and to proclaim with our lives that the kingdom of heaven is here and growing in our world. May almighty God bless you for this mission, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!