13 July, 2017: Freely Given – Give Freely

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Thursday of The Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Gen. 44:18-21, 23b-29; 45: 1-5; Gospel: Mt. 1: 7-15

“…freely have you received, freely give” (Mt. 10:8). These words seem to re-echo like a motto all through the readings of the day.

Joseph who confronts his brothers after many years – those siblings who plotted to do away with him and sold him to the Ishmaelites for just 20 pieces of silver – was able to discern God’s hand in all their misdoings. He was able to see that it was God who spared his life when he was most vulnerable and raised him to the ranks of the governor, second only to the king of Egypt – something he wouldn’t have been, if he were to remain in Canaan with his father Jacob. What was intended to be a misfortune turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Now that his life was spared for good, Joseph doesn’t intend to exact vengeance from his brothers, though the laws of the land would permit him to do so. He not only spares the lives of his brothers but instantly reconciles with them, inviting them to live with him in Egypt for the rest of their lives. He realizes that all he was were freely given by God and so he gives freely and immeasurably.

The Gospel also exhorts us to do likewise. Jesus bestows upon his chosen Twelve the power and the authority to heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons. He instructs his disciples to carry no gold or silver, to take no bag or an extra garment, to have no sandal or a staff; just to rely on God’s munificence who provides for us – freely and immeasurably. As such, the disciples are obliged to serve selflessly and without reserve; for what they are and what they are endowed with are freely given.

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