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July 12, 2017 – “Reality”

Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The readings today challenge us to look at our own short comings, yet offer us God’s mercy if we place our trust in Him.  Ultimately, our openness to God’s ability deliver us from evil allows us to be summoned and then sent forth to be disciples.

In the reading from Genesis we find Joseph, who has gone from slave to second in command in Egypt.  As governor, Joseph is confronted with an ironic twist of events.  The very people who sold him into slavery need Joseph’s help desperately.  With their awareness Joseph challenges these men, first by locking them up for three days.  Then by letting all go free except one.  Granting his brothers request of food he sends them forth on the condition they return with their youngest brother. The brothers realize they are reaping what they have sown.  When the reality of truth confronts us, what is our reaction?  Our response may be anger, denial, flight, or integration or some combination of these.  Our reaction is often a metric of our humility.

Today’s Gospel from Matthew has Jesus summoning the Twelve Apostles to give them “authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.” After Jesus bestows authority on the twelve, He sends them forth to confront the lost of the house of Israel by proclaiming, “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus is sending each of us into the world as well.  As disciples, we are called to be priest, prophet and king.  This means be ministers who heal others and confront injustice within our culture.  We do this empowered by the authority given to us by Christ.  These are ministries we are all called to share in.   

We live in a culture that often encourages us to give into temptation, to ‘Just Do It!’ or to ‘Chase What You Desire!’  The sales pitch towards giving into to all that we desire only expresses half of the story, as the negative consequences are left to be discovered later.  The culture also teaches that our sins are only sins if someone finds out.  We know that God in Heaven knows the truth, and that almost always the truth catches up with us, like in today’s first reading.  For Joseph’s brothers, they see that the sin of selling their brother into slavery creates great anguish.  Fortunately for them and us, anguish is not the end of the story as we see in the readings from the next few days.

“Lord you take away the anguish of our hearts, as we place our trust in you.  Summon us to be open to all the ways You are trying to take our brokenness and make it whole.  Then Lord, with healed spirits, send us forth with shouts of joy to proclaim Your Kingdom has come! Amen. Alleluia!”  

 - Deacon Michael Montgomery