In today’s reading we hear that “Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them” (Genesis 41:55). It gets me thinking about the price it cost Joseph to be the pharaoh’s right-hand man—that jealousy and bitterness of his brothers which drove them to sell him into slavery. I’ve had moments where I have disagreed greatly with my brother and sister, but I have never imagined selling them!
I can still hear the times that they insulted me as an adolescent, “You’re such a spoiled brat” or “Mom and Dad aren’t nearly as strict with you as they were with us.” I remember how belittled I felt, and how their words would rouse an intense feeling of animosity towards them (a feeling that I wasn’t used to).
I was the baby in the family so it’s not like I had anyone to vouch for me. My siblings are ten and thirteen years older than me, so I really was in the prime spot to be blamed for the ways they felt shortchanged in their upbringings. I relate to Joseph in that he didn’t seek to be favored by his parents; he simply wanted his rightful place in being received and loved by his siblings.
Can we forget the people who we belong to even when they have wronged us? “Joseph recognized them as soon as he saw them” (Genesis 42:8). When my sister was away during law school, all of the moments when we had really disagreed disappeared as soon I saw her walking towards us at the airport baggage claim on a trip home.
Family dysfunction is inevitable but through God’s saving hand, He was able to change Joseph’s story completely! A man who was detested and cast off by his own brothers became the one who fed them, not the physical nourishment of their bodies, but the lasting nourishment of forgiveness and mercy.
In this year of Saint Joseph, go to Saint Joseph and ask him to help you reconcile the hurts of family turmoil. And perhaps prayerfully consider how you can bring nourishing mercy and forgiveness into your household or friend circle.Go to Saint Joseph. Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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