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To: All

From: Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a

Joseph, the Pharaoh’s Administrator (Continuation)


[55] When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for
bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; what he says to
you, do.” [56] So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened
all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the
land of Egypt. [57] “Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy
grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

The Sons of Jacob Go Down to Egypt (Continuation)


[5] Thus the Sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the
famine was in the land of Canaan. [6] Now Joseph was governor over the land;
he it was who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came,
and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. [7a] Joseph
saw his brothers, and knew them, but he treated them like strangers and
spoke roughly to them.

Joseph Tests His Brothers by Keeping Simeon in Egypt (Continuation)


[17] And he put them all together in prison for three days. [18] 0n the third day
Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: [19] if you are ho-
nest men, let one of your brothers remain confined in your prison, and let the
rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, [20] and bring your
youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die.”
And they did so. [21] Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty con-
cerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought
us and we would not listen; therefore is this distress come upon us.” [22] And
Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you
would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” [23] They did
not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between
them. [24a] Then he turned away from them and wept.

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Commentary:

41:53­57. Egypt had an elaborate irrigation system, which allowed it to protect its
food supply in periods of famine caused, no doubt, by periodic droughts in the
Middle East. Thanks to Joseph’s management at that time, the country was able
not only to relieve famine at home when the need arose but also to relieve “all the
earth” scourged by that plague. Here we see how divine providence came to the
rescue of all nations through a descendant of Abraham (cf. 12:3). Yet, despite all
the progress mankind has made, the plague of hunger continues to ravage areas
of the world even In our own time. And so, “faced with a world today where so
many people are suffering from want, the [Second Vatican] Council asks indivi-
duals and governments to remember the saying of the Fathers: ‘Feed the man
dying of hunger, because if you do not feed him you are killing him,’ and it urges
them according to their ability to share and dispose of their goods to help others,
above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop them-
selves” (Vatican II, “Gaudium Et Spes”, 69).

The pharaoh himself tells the Egyptians where to find food—by having recourse
to Joseph. He is the one providentially placed by God at that time not only to
save the Egyptians but also to help Jacob and his sons, the ancestors of the
chosen people of the Old Testament. There is a profound analogy between this
Joseph who provides nourishment to Egypt and Israel, and that other Joseph, the
husband of Mary, whom God chose to care for and nourish the Holy Family, who
also had to move to Egypt (cf. the note on 39:21-23). So the words spoken by the
pharaoh. “Go to Joseph.” can also be applied to recourse to St Joseph as an in-
tercessor to bring us to Jesus: “Who could be a better teacher for us? If you
want my advice, which I have never tired of repeating these many years, “Ite ad
Ioseph”: ‘Go to Joseph.’ He will show us definite ways, both human and divine,
to approach Jesus” (St. J. Escrivá, “Christ Is Passing By”, 38).

42:1-47:12. Here begins what we might call the second part of the history of Jo-
seph. This does not end with his own prosperity and happiness after his many
trials; it opens the way to the salvation of all his people, thereby giving effect to
God’s design. This part reaches its climax with the descent of Jacob and his
whole family into Egypt, and their settling there. The sons of Jacob travel into E-
gypt twice to buy grain (cf. chap. 42 and chaps 44-45). It may be that the writer
has drawn on two separate traditions, but still the narrative has an extraordinary
unity about it, evidencing the literary skill of the editor. It is a stirring account,
with events and emotions building up to a climax at the end, when all Jacob’s
Sons are gathered around him in Egypt.

As the story develops, we see come true the dreams Joseph had in Canaan
about his brothers and his father; initially some and eventually all of them bow
down before him. Meanwhile, due to the strategies Joseph uses, his brothers
(though not realizing what is happening) come to acknowledge and gradually
confess the sin they committed against him, to the point where they sincerely
repent it. We also see a sense of brotherhood and solidarity develop among
them all, to the point where they are all ready to become slaves rather than a-
bandon Benjamin (cf. 44: 16); and one of them, Judah, is ready to give himself
up on Benjamin’s behalf. It is only then, at this point of brotherly union, that they
are able to find again their lost brother, Joseph, and reconstitute the family of
Jacob.

42:1-7. Jacob acts as a responsible family man concerned about his children’s
welfare. He is not resigned to see his family die of hunger; he thinks hard about
the situation and decides to take a risky but necessary course of action—to send
his sons to Egypt in search of food. Jacob’s sons probably joined some caravan
travelling there for the same reason. The account starts with this action on Ja-
cob’s part to explain why the Israelites went down into Egypt, leaving the land
God had promised to Abraham. It rounds off this explanation when it tells how
Jacob himself and all his family travelled to Egypt at God’s bidding (cf. 46:1-5).
The dreams Joseph told his brothers about (cf. 37:5-9) now begin to come true.
Joseph’s harshness towards them does not stem from a spirit of vengeance, it
is designed to give more dramatic interest to the story and to prepare for the
eventual reunion, once all his brothers have admitted their fault.

42:8-24. Joseph’s accusation against his brothers looks like a ruse to get them
to identify what family they belong to. It is plain to see that for them Joseph
“does not exist”. It is possible that Joseph fears for what will happen to his mo-
ther’s son, his brother Benjamin, and that that is why he insists that they bring
him to him. Maybe Joseph is conscious of his father’s pain and for that reason
keeps Simeon rather than Reuben; or, now that he knows what Reuben did
when the others wanted to kill him (cf. 37:21), maybe his decision not to detain
Reuben is a form of recognition for that action. In any event, the whole story is
told in a masterly way, and the reader’s interest is unabated. When they see
one of their brothers being taken from them by force, they begin to reflect on
what they themselves did long before—consciously disposing of a brother (they
thought that he was dead). They admit their fault and that it merits this sort of
punishment from God. Their process of conversion has started: their conscience
is beginning to accuse them. “Just as a drunkard who once he has drunk a lot
of wine is not conscious of doing damage, but later on realizes how much evil
he has done, so, too, sin, when it is being committed, darkens the mind and is
like a dense cloud that corrupts it; but, later, one’s conscience beings to wake
up and it accuses one’s mind vigorously, showing it how stupidly one has acted”
(St John Chrysostom, “Homiliae in Genesim”, 54, 2).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


14 posted on 07/05/2011 7:38:32 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 10:1-7

The Calling and First Mission of the Apostles


[1] And He (Jesus) called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority
over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infir-
mity. [2] The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called
Peter, and Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
[3] Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the
son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; [4] Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot,
who betrayed Him.

[5] These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gen-
tiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, [6] but go rather to the lost sheep of
the house of Israel. [7] And preach as you go, saying, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven
is at hand.’”

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Commentary:

1-4. Jesus calls His twelve Apostles after recommending to them to pray to the
Lord to send laborers into His harvest (cf. Matthew 9:38). Christians’ apostolic
action should always, then, be preceded and accompanied by a life of constant
prayer: apostolate is a divine affair, not a merely human one. Our Lord starts His
Church by calling twelve men to be, as it were, twelve patriarchs of the new peo-
ple of God, the Church. This new people is established not by physical but by
spiritual generation. The names of those Apostles are specifically mentioned
here. They were not scholarly, powerful or important people: they were average,
ordinary people who responded faithfully to the grace of their calling—all of them,
that is, except Judas Iscariot. Even before His death and resurrection Jesus con-
fers on them the power to cast out unclean spirits and cure illnesses—as an
earnest of and as training for the saving mission which He will entrust to them.

The Church reveres these first Christians in a very special way and is proud to
carry on their supernatural mission, and to be faithful to the witness they bore to
the teaching of Christ. The true Church is absent unless there is uninterrupted
apostolic succession and identification with the spirit which the Apostles made
their own.

“Apostle”: this word means “sent”; Jesus sent them out to preach His Kingdom
and pass on His teaching.

The Second Vatican Council, in line with Vatican I, “confesses” and “declares”
that the Church has a hierarchical structure: “The Lord Jesus, having prayed at
length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed
twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf.
Mark 3:13-19: Matthew 10:1-10). These Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted
in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed
Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17). He sent them first of all to
the children of Israel and then to all peoples (cf. Romans 1:16), so that, sharing
in His power, they might make all peoples His disciples and sanctify and govern
them (cf. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:21-23) and thus
spread the Church and, administering it under the guidance of the Lord, shepherd
it all days until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:28)” (”Lumen Gentium”, 19).

1. In this chapter St. Matthew describes how Jesus, with a view to the spreading
of the Kingdom of God which He inaugurates, decides to establish a Church,
which He does by giving special powers and training to these twelve men who
are its seed.

5-15. After revealing His intention to found the Church by choosing the Twelve
(verses 1-4), in the present passage He shows that He intends to start training
these first Apostles. In other words, from early on in His public ministry He be-
gan to lay the foundations of His Church.

Everyone needs doctrinal and apostolic training to follow his Christian calling.
The Church has a duty to teach, and the faithful have a parallel duty to make
that teaching their own. Therefore, every Christian should avail of the facilities
for training which the Church offers him—which will vary according to each per-
son’s circumstances.

5-6. In His plan of salvation God gave certain promises (to Abraham and the pa-
triarchs), a Covenant and a Law (the Law of Moses), and sent the prophets. The
Messiah would be born into this chosen people, which explains why the Messiah
and the Kingdom of God were to be preached to the house of Israel before being
preached to the Gentiles. Therefore, in their early apprenticeship, Jesus restricts
the Apostles’ area of activity to the Jews, without this taking from the world-wide
scope of the Church’s mission. As we will see, much later on He charges them
to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19); “Go into all the world
and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:16). The Apostles also,
in the early days of the spread of the Church, usually sought out the Jewish com-
munity in any new city they entered, and preached first to them (cf. Acts 13:46).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


15 posted on 07/05/2011 7:39:31 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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