March 2, 2018

March 2

March 2, 2018:  Friday, 2nd week, Lent

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

  • Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a  Joseph's brothers plotted to kill him, but Reuben convinced them just to throw him into the cistern.  Then they sold him to the Ishmaelites.
  • Ps 105:16-21  "Remember the marvels the Lord has done."  The Lord sent Joseph, sold as a slave, weighed down and bound till God's word proved him and the king made him master of his house.
  • Mt 21:33-43, 45-46  “A landowner leased a vineyard and went on a journey.  When he sent servants to obtain his produce, the tenants beat or killed them.  Finally, he sent his son, but they killed him too.  What will he do when he returns?” / “Kill the tenants and lease to others.” / “As the stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone, the Kingdom will be taken away from you and given to others to produce fruit.”
  • Creighton:  Today's readings focus on the darker side of human behavior.  They reveal the temptations we face, particularly jealousy and greed.  Lent is a time for us beloved sinners to move beyond temptation to redemption.  We know of Joseph's brothers’ anger and jealousy; Reuben seems the only one with any concern for his brother.  "Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses."  "Show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."  So there's hope that love will heal.  Sometimes we have to acknowledge our human frailties to move beyond them and closer to God; when we deny they exist, we don't advance and even perhaps move further away from God.  Joseph’s love sees beyond his and his brothers' faults, and God’s love helps us accept our faults and move toward him.
In the gospel, not only don't the tenants pay what they owe, but they kill those asking.  Though we may not kill, we may ignore some of our responsibilities.  These words from You love me anyway (Sidewalk Prophets) came to mind as I read the gospel:  "I am the thorn in your crown, but You love me anyway.  I am the sweat from Your brow, but You love me anyway.  I am the nail in Your wrist, but You love me anyway.  I am Judas' kiss, but You love me anyway."
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The future now":  Isaac and Rebekah favored different sons, creating family division.  Eventually, Rebekah helped her favorite, Jacob, deceive Isaac and steal his favorite son's birthright.  Jacob's favoring of Joseph created more family division.  Eventually, his other sons tried to murder Joseph, then instead sold him into slavery, lied to their father, and broke his heart.  Injustice, division, and deception can set the stage for family catastrophes. Does our example teach our children to be holy?...
  • Passionist:  Today's gospel is of people being overcome by blinding greed that needs transformation.  Are we any better sometimes?
  •  "The stone the builders rejected":  Joseph's betrayal and suffering led to redemption and reconciliation.  "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, so that many should be kept alive."  Joseph prefigures Jesus betrayed killed for our redemption.
Jesus' parable offended the scribes and Pharisees who understood it as about God's dealing with a rebellious people in "the vineyard of the Lord"; it tells of God's generosity and trust:  as the owner left the vineyard in the tenants' hands, so does God trust us and give us freedom. It also tells of God's patience and justice:  the owner forgives the tenants, but justice prevails.
The Lord gives us his kingdom and promises we'll bear fruit if we abide in him.  He entrusts his gifts to us, gives us work, and promises our labor won't be in vain if we persevere.  We may be tried and persecuted, but we'll triumph.  "Thank you, Lord, for the benefits you've given us, the pains and insults you've borne for us....  May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly...." –Richard of Chichester
  • Today's saint, from Universalis:  Chad, humble, simple bishop and abbot
Dress legend
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  “What's to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?" (1st reading)
  • Multicolored suspenders:  Joseph's coat (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' pin:  Reuben wanted to rescue Joseph from their brothers' hands (1st reading)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Joseph's brothers sat down to their meal (1st reading)
  • Silver-colored 'ruler' tie bar:  Joseph fetched 20 pieces of silver (1st reading); the 'ruler' of the peoples set Joseph free and made him ruler (psalm)
  • 'Chain links' tie bar:  Joseph was bound by chains (psalm)
  • 'Stone' tie pin:  Tenants stoned one of the owner's servants; the stone the builder rejected became the cornerstone (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  It's wonderful in our eyes (psalm)
  • 'Fruit' tie with grapes:  Parable of the vineyard; God's Kingdom will be given to a people that will produce its fruit (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

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