Who saw that coming?

March 5, 2021

Genesis 37:3–4,12–28 | Matthew 21:33–43 | Psalm 105:16–22

At first sight we when we look at the Gospel reading and the first reading from Genesis, we can think to ourselves, what is going on here? Or maybe, what does Joseph being sold by his brothers have to do with the gospel of the wretched tenants? Honestly it will be a difficult task at first glance to find something that can tie both readings together and maybe even more daunting, what lesson can we learn from these two readings?

Here is the beauty of the sacred scripture even when at first glance these readings may appear unrelated and difficult to understand. When you look at them under the scope of Jesus’ Passion, death and resurrection we can begin to see how they come together and not only make sense but also to give us a lesson of hope for everyday life.

We need to understand that Joseph is a prefigurement of Jesus. Joseph is rejected by his brothers just as Jesus is rejected by his people. Joseph is sold into slavery, which in ancient times was a death sentence. His life now belonged to his owner. As we follow the life of Joseph in his journey, he goes from favorite son, to favorite slave to favorite prisoner. It is not until God intervenes that we see all that Joseph suffers and endures is part of God’s plan for the salvation of the people and his family. In the Gospel, Jesus uses the parable to inform us about what he is about to undergo. The owner of the vineyard is God and the son killed by the wretched tenants is himself. Just like Joseph, Jesus is betrayed by a friend and sold to his enemies, abandoned by his disciples, rejected by his people and dies on the cross. Once again, all of this is for the salvation of humanity. By his suffering, death and resurrection Jesus gives salvation to all of us. 

Sometimes it is difficult to see God’s plan in the middle of difficulties and in our everyday living. Yet we know God loves us and walks with us, even when there are times it does not feel that way. But how many time have we experienced moments when our plans did not quite work out the way we wanted but in the long run things just work out?  There is a saying “Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards.” 

Joseph will go on to become the second in command in the Land of Egypt not only saving his family from a 7- year famine but also saving Egypt and the nations nearby. Jesus will not stay in the tomb. He will resurrect and by his passion, death and resurrection save the world. The people we are today is the fruit of past experiences, both good and bad. How the stories are going to end, I cannot say, but one thing I know is that God has a plan and in good time all will be well.

Paula & Eddy

Painting: Coat of Many Colors, Lord of All by Thomas Blackshear