Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Joseph's story

Talk about being at the right place at the right time! But it sure didn't seem like that for Joseph (he of the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) fo the first however many years of his ordeal. Only later (I think we'll hear it in tomorrow's liturgy) was he able to recognize that the faithful God of his father, Israel (just yesterday we heard of Jacob's name-changing struggle with the Angel), had been with him all along, guiding things so providentially that in saving the family of Jacob, God was also saving "the whole world." (Egypt being the bread-basket of the ancient world, when there was a famine in Egypt, everyone went hungry.)
I'm utterly impressed with Joseph's faith, which will be revealed when we hear him tell his (now repentant) brothers, "You meant it for harm, but God meant it for good. It was God who sent me ahead of you." In the treachery of the older brothers, God was even more active, "making all things work together for good." St Paul counted on this in his own ministry. I am especially fond of his letter to the Philippians, written from imprisonment: "The circumstances of my present life are helping, not hindering, the spread of the Gospel... Whether it is for false motives or sincere ones, Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. And I shall continue to rejoice!"
It can be so easy for me to read my life in key of human decisions (or indecisions), bad timing, "circumstances," all horizontal cause-and-effect type things. The story of Joseph and the story of Paul warn me not to discount the possibility that God really is acting within and through (not just in spite of!) whatever touches my life.

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