Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.
His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’
But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.
Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.
Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
It was the stone rejected by the builders
that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing
and it is wonderful to see?
‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.
This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?
I am always fascinated by the Russian dolls toy where there are always hidden dolls within another. The anticipation of being able to see more dolls within the toy is in itself something which I look forward to. The readings of today remind us of that sometimes what we are going through may not be understandable at first but it is all within God’s plan for us.
Joseph in the first reading was being sold as a slave to Egypt but as we will discover, this was the start of the unfolding of God’s plan to save His people from famine. Yet the heart of Israel would be very broken because Joseph disappeared from his life. There are times where our hearts are broken because of an event in our life or perhaps someone whom we love has left us. These occasions provide us with an opportunity to trust God with our lives and to allow Him to work within us to let us fall on him.
Indeed, Jesus himself was to show us the way which we are to lead our lives. He has shown us what it means to lead a life of total abandonment to God through his actions and prayers. He knew that His purpose on this earth was to die for all of us yet he willingly went to do so. This is in itself an important point for us to remember, we may not like the plans God has for us but we can be assured that He will take care of us. Let us take this season of Lent to stay close to God and to remind ourselves that if we trust God, there can be no regrets.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let us surrender our lives to you and may you work your grace in us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who love us.