Friday of the Second Week

Joseph's brothers hold him captive and there are traders with camels

Daily Offering

Lord, help me to be open to your presence in others today.  Stephen Noon SJ

Entering into prayer

Choose a method of entering into prayer that you are comfortable with, or if the mood takes you, try something different. If you’re finding it difficult, talk to God about the things on your mind, or try a Body Exercise.

Today's Scipture (Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28)
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ The man said, ‘They have gone away, for I heard them say, “Let us go to Dothan.” ’ So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, ‘Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.’ But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, ‘Let us not take his life.’ Reuben said to them, ‘Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him’—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.’ And his brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.

Food for Thought

We find time on this day of Lent to consider the story of Joseph because for the Christian, Joseph is a figure of Christ. Stephen, the first martyr, in his long speech in the Acts of the Apostles, proves this at length. The parable which Jesus tells in today’s Gospel about the wicked tenants of the vineyard who killed the agents and eventually the son of its owner, also echoes the Joseph story because Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him. In fact, Joseph was not killed. Like Jesus in his infancy story, he was taken down to Egypt. Through his various adventures, God kept him safe until he became the saviour of his brothers who were driven from their country by famine. All this anticipates what Christ would achieve byhis death and resurrection for all humanity. And this includes each of us; with Paul, we can say that Christ loved us and gave himself for us.

Suggestions for Prayer

Today is a good day to reflect on the innocent suffering that goes on in our world, particularly in countries where government is bad and where corrupt legal systems result in miscarriages ofjustice. The fact that Joseph was persecuted by his own brothers, reminds us too of the problems of family breakup and divisions. The subsequent exaltation of Joseph and the resurrection of Jesus, console us that human situations are not the end of the story and encourage us to hope. We might reflect on our own families and other communities. Have there been times of strife or enmity? Were we part of the cause or were we peacemakers, more like Reuben? Even though Joseph was persecuted and Jesus died on the cross, both returned, but not to seek vengeance against those who killed them, but appearing in love to those around them. No matter what you have done, who in your life loves you regardless of what you have done? What would like to say to them? Looking back over your prayer over the past few days and when you have been reminded of your faults and failings, how does it feel that they love you no matter what? Knowing that others love you no matter what, what commitments would you like to make in your life or what commitments would you like to make efforts to keep?

How are you going to respond today?

We pray for all those who struggle on behalf of the innocent and we pray for all those unjustly condemned or punished, mindful of Jesus who, though innocent, accepted death.

Image for the day

Joseph's brothers hold him captive and there are traders with camels

  • How does this image make you feel?
  • Have you ever felt betrayed like Joseph? What would Jesus say to comfort you?
  • What can we learn from the story?

Examen (Review of Prayer)

When you come towards the end of your time of prayer, or at the end of your day, talk to God about what has come up for you, what went well and what didn’t. End with a formal prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father.

Going deeper

Read more about the Old Testament