Posted by: fvbcdm | March 12, 2012

Feast of Saint Frances of Rome (9 Mar 2012)

There is an old saying in many languages: God writes straight with crooked lines. If we think about it, we discover that it is man who uses crooked lines: he does evil things, but with them God accomplishes his own divine purposes.

This Friday at Mass, we have the story of the selling of Joseph by his brothers to slave-traders. Why did they do such a thing? Because they were envious and jealous of Joseph; he was his father Jacob’s favorite. His father had given him the famous “coat of many colors,” symbolic of the greater love that Jacob had for Joseph. So, when Joseph went to bring food to his brothers out on the land where they were keeping sheep, they decided to kill him because of their hatred. The oldest brother dissuaded them from fratricide, but persuaded them to put him into a dry well where he could be kept as a sort of prisoner. Then slave-traders came along on their way to Egypt. This was their opportunity! They could sell their brother Joseph to the slavers for some money, thus enriching themselves and getting rid of Joseph at the same time.

I think we all remember the rest of the story: Joseph won the favor and admiration of the king of Egypt, who put him in charge of all the food in the land. And when a famine occurred in the Holy Land, his brothers had to go to Egypt to buy food from the local people, and to deal with their brother although they didn’t recognize him. From their jealousy and envy there arises a scheme of slave-dealing. And from slave-dealing comes food to save the Jewish people from starvation.

Our Divine Lord was prefigured by the story of Joseph. Jesus, too, was hated by his enemies. Jesus, too, was sold by one of his own “brothers”—the apostle Judas Iscariot. Delivered into the hands of his enemies, he was crucified and thus became the savior of mankind. “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”  The crooked lines of hatred on the part of the brothers of Joseph and of the enemies of Jesus were used by our heavenly Father to save the Jews of old, and both Jews and Gentiles several centuries later. And salvation from both physical and spiritual calamity is a straight line—an act of love.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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