When I read over Jesus’ summoning the twelve and giving them authority to expel unclean spirits and to cure sickness and disease of every kind, it struck me that the very power to proclaim such a bold mission was actually in the wake of the greatest events the world has ever and will ever known, namely, The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He could announce that the reign of God is at hand, because His obedience to the Father ushered in the Age of Redemption and full access to Eternal Life. So what am I waiting for? Am I taking full advantage of the graces that flow from the Paschal Mystery?
In the Egyptian world of Joseph’s time the country was able to provide enough food to provide for the inhabitants of most of the known world. In fact in God’s Kingdom the world produce was to be shared with each person. Later in history there would come a time when the kingdom of Israel was to deny this right of sharing in world resources. Justice was violated. In the words of one commentator, “when the poor are neglected, then prosperous people have to worship gods other than Yahweh.” The prophets would raise their voices to express God’s anger and the despair of God’s neglected people. That prophecy continues today in the face of massive world-wide, unwelcome and often, cruel treatment of immigrants forced to leave their homelands only to find additional poverty and abuse in the areas of the world in which they find themselves. At least, we can educate ourselves, locally, as to what is happening to our brothers and sisters who have been forced to resettle in the midst of hostility. And we can raise the consciousness of others.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.