Today’s Old Testament reading continues the story of Joseph and his brothers (Gn 44:18-21, 23b-29; 45:1-5). The scene is Joseph’s ten brothers returning to Joseph (whom they still do not recognize) in Egypt after it is discovered that the youngest has in his possession a silver goblet (planted by Joseph). Joseph tells them that this brother, Benjamin, must stay with him. That is where today’s reading begins. The brothers beg Joseph, on behalf of their father, not to keep Benjamin, relaying how the father loves him and would die if he didn’t return. Joseph, unable to maintain the deception any longer, clears all Egyptians out and reveals himself to his brothers. He is wailing, his brothers are dumbfounded. He tells them not to reproach themselves for the evil they did to him, concluding with the words at top.
What a spectacular attitude Joseph has! By all rights he should have been furious at the brothers who so callously wished to kill him out of envy years before. He had the means to do with them what he willed, even to kill them, with no repercussions to himself. While it is true that after much suffering he, through a gift of God, attained a high position, he was still in a foreign land long separated from his family, knowing that, to a man, his brothers had it out for him. Yet, after, admittedly, causing them some grief, he has the insight to realize that God was able to bring a greater good out of the sins of the brothers, ultimately saving his whole family from famine and ensuring the flourishing of future generations. It is an example for us to follow. In great difficulties, downturns, or trials, it is often hard to see what good can come of our pain (likely Joseph spent years feeling this as well). Yet, trusting in the Lord and seeking to do His will, one day at a time, by faith we can be assured that what the Most High has in store for us (and quite possibly our loved ones and even others) is far beyond the challenges of the moment. It is the light of faith that is the beacon for us in this journey, just as it was for Joseph and all of the patriarchs, prophets, and disciples of Jesus. Such stories should be a great inspiration to us to move forward in trust.