Genesis 49:29-32, 50:15-26
Then he charged them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah— the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.”
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old.
Psalm 105: 1-4, 6-7
O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
In the first reading, Jacob’s sons come to Joseph begging for his forgiveness. They throw themselves at his feet, weeping, offering themselves as his slaves. Joseph, in return, weeps, forgives them and reassures them he will provide for them and that what they intended for harm God intended for good. Without his brothers selling him into slavery, Joseph would not have been in the situation to provide for them in their time of need to save their lives. God used their sin to work his Will to preserve their lives.
Joseph’s ability to forgive his brothers was really a miraculous thing. Although they left him for dead, Joseph was able to keep his gaze on God and the eternal. He could see that God used his enslavement to prepare him for his position in Egypt. Then he could forgive his brothers when they ultimately had true contrition for what they had done to him.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches not to fear the one who can destroy the body but the one who can destroy both body and soul. Rather than fear for what can happen to us, we are reassured of our value in the Lord. If we proclaim Jesus Christ to others regardless of fear for what may happen to us or what others will think about us, we will be acknowledged before God.
Today, no matter what trials, persecutions, misunderstandings, bitterness, etc. you may be going through or dealing with in your life, take the messages of the gospel and scriptures today to heart. Ask God for the grace to focus on the eternal, forgive those who have wronged you, and profess Jesus Christ.