Wednesday 12 July 2023 Week 14 in Ordinary Time
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.
Psalm 32 May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.
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.’
The twelve take up a leadership which is essentially “missionary”. The Church is a Missionary Community, as its origin lies in the fulfillment of the mission of the Son, to make know his Father’s promise. As they go, the disciples are to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.
We can think of this closeness as a coming of the end times. Or we can understand it as presence. Something liminal, here and now, but not quite tangible. The veil between here and beyond is so thin.
My contemplation of the last week has been one short text, “If You had not wished for me a glimpse of You, You might have hidden someplace more difficult to find. As it is, my night is now pregnant with the day and I awake to find you in your garden.” taken from the mystic Hakim Sanai’s, Walled Garden of Truth.
This is our missionary call to proclaim how close our God is to us. It must be therefore of greatest importance to touch this closeness ourselves.