Friday 14 July 2023 Week 14 in Ordinary Time
Israel left Canaan with his possessions and reached Beersheba. There he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in a vision at night, ‘Jacob, Jacob’, he said. ‘I am here’, he replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father’, he continued. ‘Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I myself will go down to Egypt with you. I myself will bring you back again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.’ Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons conveyed their father Jacob, their little children and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to fetch him.
Taking their livestock and all that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, they went to Egypt, Jacob and all his family with him: his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his grand daughters, in a word, all his children he took with him to Egypt.
Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that the latter might present himself to him in Goshen. When they arrived in the land of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as he appeared he threw his arms round his neck and for a long time wept on his shoulder. Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now I can die, now that I have seen you again, and seen you still alive.’
Psalm 36 The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.
‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to Sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’
The Lord tells Israel to get up and leave the land promised to him and that he will be made a great nation in Egypt. Once there he is reunited with Joseph. Israel’s God, always faithful to him assures him that his hand is close to him always, even in Egypt. Israel ever faithful trusts the voice of the Lord, even though it seems to be leaving behind all that he has been given as his inheritance, just as his Father Abraham got up and left all he knew in the land of Ur. The promise is fulfilled in the reconciliation of the family with Joseph. This is God’s desire for Israel and Israel trusts this.
Israel’s words on seeing Joseph, “Now I can die, now that I have seen you again, and seen you still alive” remind me of the words of Simeon, “At last, all-powerful Master, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel, your people.”
The Gospel asks us to have the same trust when we are confounded by what is happening in our lives, especially in times of trial, betrayal, confusion, or persecution. “The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you”, the Gospel says.
Let us trust that the voice of the Father is speaking within us as we encounter what is asked of us this day.