In the book of Genesis today, we learn a valuable lesson about God and how he uses human tragedy for his design. Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob) and Rachel was sold into slavery by his brothers due to jealousy. Many years pass, his family assumes he is probably dead, when his brothers come to Egypt looking for food. When Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, he comforts them from their fear. He tells them, “…do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life…God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
We see in Joseph the attitude of one whose heart is set on God alone. He finds strength and endurance in faith. This attitude gives him the strength to accept hardships with faith. This acceptance that God allowed it for a reason, opens his heart to forgive his brothers wholeheartedly.
Let us ask the Lord to grant us a faith like Joseph in the face of hardship, to see beyond the moment and trust that God has this in his control.
May God bless you!
Abraham had just heard that God intended to destroy all the residents living in Sodom because of their wickedness. And as the two other men departed toward the city to destroy it, Abraham approaches the third (God) to ask for the lives of those in the city. He poses his question to God, “will you indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty … forty-five … forty … thirty … twenty … ten righteous people there?”
Would God spare the town for the sake of ten righteous people? This language should sound familiar for those of you who were with us on Day 3 and Day 4, where in the story of Noah and the flood, Noah was the righteous one for whose sake God spared the human race. At the same time, in today’s story, we are learning a lesson about the communicable effects of sin; sin has an impact on the whole community. Although it may seem that behind closed doors our sin in private; in reality, its consequences shadow the whole community, and there is need for cleansing, to repair the breach. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance), we are given the opportunity to receive spiritual healing from our sin, and makes it possible to also heal the wound of community.
May God bless you!
2 Chronicles 5-6
“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin when You afflict them; 27 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel…” – 2 Chronicles 6:26-27
Notation: in the audio, King David is mentioned as the one praying for the people; it is in fact his son, King Solomon, in the dedication of the temple.
May God bless you.
2 Kings 1-2
Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” – John 11:43-44
Today we read the conclusion of the narrative of Lazarus, now lying in the tomb for four days, being raised to life by Jesus. At the command of Jesus, Lazarus leaves the tomb and stumbles into the daylight.
We can use this story as an analogy for the parts of our lives that are dead because of sin. They lie in the tomb, keeping us split, with a part of us missing. Yet, at the word of Jesus, in his promise of forgiveness and mercy, we need only turn to him in his word, trust, and ask forgiveness with a true regret and contrition. Then, behold the miracle of transformation that occurs. We can reclaim the parts of our mind, spirit, body and soul that were thrust into darkness by sin, be brought forth again into the light of Christ and be restored to health.
Let us pause today, and hear the voice of Jesus calling us by name out of the tomb, saying, “Come forth!”, and let him remove the bandages that bind us, that we may go forth free to live in him.
May God bless you.
1 Kings 9-10
Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:6-7
What happened to the woman is each of our own worst nightmare, to be caught in our lowest moment and have it put on public display. There are stories of those who have died and come back to life who tell of their experience at being judged, how all of their sins committed are revealed while the hosts of heaven witness it against them. With the intense shame they experienced, they would be able to identify with what the woman was going through.
In Jesus we see the just judge, not even desiring to embarrass the woman further by looking at her in her lowest moment. He stoops down to the ground to write, hiding his face from her shame, as well as from the hatred and cruelty of her accusers. The Just Judge takes no delight in bringing sentence upon His creation; it is a burden that makes him stoop down to avert his eyes from bearing witness to it. It is a Merciful Judge.
With head bowed, stooped to the ground, Jesus writes. The greek word used here for write is katagraphein, which can be defined as ‘to write down a record against someone’. Was Jesus writing a record of the sins of the woman’s accusers? John doesn’t tell us. Perhaps the Just Judge wanted to give those accusing the woman a gentle reminder of their own sinfulness? To let them see their own guilt and choose willingly to walk away from condemning another?
Our Judge – Jesus Christ – is Just. Let us learn from the Just One how to be careful in our capacity to judge one another. Let us gaze upon Him and learn to be gentle with the state of others’ souls. We may be bringing condemnation on ourselves in that very moment. May we choose to walk gently like Jesus with others, knowing that all of us will one day stand before Jesus and give account for our sins and our capacity to be merciful.
May God bless you.