Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a
A common thread running through today’s readings is that of betrayal. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers who sold him into slavery. Though harshness is highlighted today, forgiveness and mercy will eventually prevail. In the Gospel, we are given a list of the twelve chosen. We ominously hear that Judas "betrayed" Jesus.
Recently Bernard Madoff received his sentence for betraying many people out of millions of dollars. South Carolina governor Mark Sanford betrayed his wife with his affair. I frequently receive emails from people whose marriages are rocked with infidelity, from people who are hurt by others, and from those who have been abused in various ways. These people are bewildered and wonder what to do. As we live and relate with others, we will inevitably be betrayed, abused, and rejected by someone. It is especially hard when the rejection or hurt comes from those who are serving the church. When I was a seminarian, I was rejected by a number of students and it almost broke my heart.
One of the books I read on my retreat in June was the bestseller The Shack by William Paul Young. Without giving away the storyline, one of the powerful truths this book presents is the healing forgiveness brings. Jesus tells the apostles to proclaim, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." There is strength in God that empowers us to forgive. The kingdom of heaven is present when, no matter the pain or injustice, a person chooses to forgive. In addition, God’s kingdom is operative and shown by what happens to the person who forgives. Rather than becoming obsessed and bitter, they gradually let go and move forward. In Joseph’s case he became governor of Egypt and was vindicated in the presence of his family. I have experienced God’s promotion in my own life as I try to take the high road. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. I pray you will know its healing and vindication in your life.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 12 books and creator of the TV program Live with Passion! airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/