10 July 2019
When the whole country of Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread. But Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.’ There was famine all over the world. Then Joseph opened all the granaries and sold grain to the Egyptians. The famine grew worse in the land of Egypt. People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, for the famine had grown severe throughout the world.
Israel’s sons with others making the same journey went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan. It was Joseph, as the man in authority over the country, who sold the grain to all comers. So Joseph’s brothers went and bowed down before him, their faces touching the ground. When Joseph saw his brothers he recognised them. But he did not make himself known to them, and he spoke harshly to them. Then he kept them all in custody for three days.
On the third day Joseph said to them, ‘Do this and you shall keep your lives, for I am a man who fears God. If you are honest men let one of your brothers be kept in the place of your detention; as for you, go and take grain to relieve the famine of your families. You shall bring me your youngest brother; this way your words will be proved true, and you will not have to die!’ This they did. They said to one another, ‘Truly we are being called to account for our brother. We saw his misery of soul when he begged our mercy, but we did not listen to him and now this misery has come home to us.’ Reuben answered them, ‘Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you did not listen, and now we are brought to account for his blood.’ They did not know that Joseph understood, because there was an interpreter between them. He left them and wept.
Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is 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 Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him.
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.
When I read today’s reading, this line struck me as something very similar to what our Lady told the servants during the wedding at Cana. She instructed them to do whatever Jesus told them to do. When this happens, you wait for instructions. This waiting can sometimes be agonizing.
In today’s age, we are not trained to wait. We have instant noodles, instant messaging, we even have hydroponics, which grows plants faster. To us, a few minutes of waiting is like an eternity. Most of us have been wired to be constantly doing something, otherwise, we feel that nothing is happening. I’ve heard of one project leader being offered all the possible resources in order to expedite a project. He had to tell people that nine ladies cannot give birth to one baby in one month. They just had to wait.
Early this January, God showed me that I was waiting in exasperation. I had this ‘I-can’t-do-anything-anymore-so-I’ll-just-wait’ attitude. I really had no other choice but to wait. The reality is I really had no other choice anyway but I realized that that was not the type of waiting God wanted me to do. God wanted me to choose to wait because He told me to wait. He told me that that was what I should be doing.
Waiting is a verb. It is an action word. Just because we don’t ‘see’ any actions doesn’t mean that we are not doing any thing. To wait is also a decision. After all, God has given us a free will and we have the freedom to go off and not wait. Most importantly, to choose to wait is to choose to trust God.
Let’s put ourselves in Joseph’s brothers’ position. They walked to Joseph asking to buy grain. They have probably brought all their riches and were willing to pay a premium price for food. But giving these riches amounts to nothing if it is not what Joseph would have asked them to give, in exchange for the food. So there will be a point in time where they would have to wait, not knowing what Joseph would say.
I think this is similar to how we approach God. We bring a lot of things in his presence to talk to him about our future. And then God tells us to wait on him. I think the difference would be if we could trust that God has the best intentions for us. So even if we wait, we know that it is for the best.
When God tells us to wait, let us choose to wait. The roots grow even if we don’t see them.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dearest Lord God, please give us the grace to do what you ask us to do, especially if you are asking us to wait.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for your patience in not rushing things in our lives. Your timing is really perfect!