March 22 - For Silver He is Sold
Mar 22, 2019
Scriptures: "Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons." His brothers were jealous and conspired to kill him, instead they sold him off to slavery and faked his death. The fee paid was 20 pieces of silver, a bondage Joseph was not supposed to be able to escape but did, the bondage of slavery. Jesus was sold to death for thirty pieces of silver. Death is the everlasting bondage of which no one could escape, except if you truly were the Son of God. Jesus, again, shares an incredible parable that weaves his own story into it, "Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, 'They will respect my son.'" And yet the parable concludes that they will kill the son and be subject to the vengeance of the Father. Why murder? Why did Joseph's brothers send him off for dead? Why did Christ's friend betray him to death? Just as Joseph carried an authority and favor beyond his station, he did not follow the expected path, Jesus declared to the people truths others didn't want to hear. Though the priests of his day wanted to kill Jesus, why did Judas betray him? Jesus was not what Judas expected, not what he wanted, Judas wanted Jesus to fit his expectations of what the Messiah ought to be. For Judas, this was not supposed to be a man of peace, a servant of servants, he was supposed to be a mighty king, powerful ruler, restore the throne of David, and cast out Rome. When it was clear Jesus had none of those intentions, Judas faltered. Just as Joseph embraced slavery and his misfortune, God blessed him abundantly and his persecutors were saved through fraternal forgiveness and the sharing of God's blessing. Jesus embraced his cross, and his death, but through that was even able to bless his persecutors who could be saved and obtain eternal life through him. Judas did not live to see the resurrection, after all the time with Jesus, he still did not believe in mercy, only power. He hung himself.
Core Faith Principle - In the last lines of the Gospel the priests again wanted to kill Jesus, he said something that challenged their very stature and authority. He told them that the Lord would take away their inheritance and give it to those who would bear more fruit with it. This was quite likely the fear of Joseph's brothers, that the father would bestow the inheritance on the most loved instead of by birth order. The principle for today is that Jews are God's chosen people and will be until the end of time. The symbol of this people is the fruit bearing tree. When the ministry to the Gentiles began the terms of reconciliation became the idea of grafting new branches onto the original tree. It is possible to get one tree to take and grow a branch from another, you may see a flower bloom on a tree that might not otherwise have them. So the gentiles were grafted into the chosen people, not by circumcision of the flesh, but by circumcision of the heart. Through baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, they would be emboldened with the faith of Abraham and be sanctified and chosen in that way. Another one of Christ's parables that explains this is the parable of the wedding feast, where the Master sends out invitations to all the chosen people but they refuse to come. So instead he sends it out to everyone and they all come. Some who do not present themselves worthily are rejected, but those who except the invitation with grace were given the seats reserved for the chosen.
Living this at Home: It is nice to know that even the biblical patrriarchs couldn't keep their children from killing each other. I think the message for families is fairly simple for today, love each of your children for who they are. Teach them to be faithful to God in all things and their life's vocation will be fulfilled. We should always parent prudently, but we should not have anxieties about evil that may befall our children. The Lord will glorify the suffering of his faithful. Joseph was sold as slave and by maintaining faith in the Lord he became governor of the whole land. Jesus was sold into his own death, but by maintaining faith in the Lord, his death became salvific and opened the path to eternal life. St. Patrick was kidnapped and made a slave, being faithful to the Lord, he was set free and dedicated the rest of his life to converting those who enslaved them (worked very hard to get them to the same heaven he intended to spend eternity in). St. Josephine Bakhita was made a slave as a little girl. She was forced to march across her own continent in such harsh conditions that she forgot her own name. When asked if she regretted her slavery she answered that she loved her slavery, not for the pain and suffering, but because it brought her Jesus Christ whom she loved above all things. We ought to teach our children to respect each others differences, support each other, and emphasize above all else fidelity to God.