Homily for Friday of the Second Week in Lent
This morning we hear the stories of two favored sons. In the 1st reading, we hear about Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery because, ultimately, they were jealous of his relationship with their father. Joseph’s brothers despised him for being the favored son in the family. But Joseph also didn’t help his case any. He knew he was the favored one and kind of held that against his brothers. He shared with them his dreams of one day being more important than his brothers – ruling over them and being of a higher social class and of greater wealth. No wonder they sought revenge against him. While they originally wanted to kill him, they settled for selling him into slavery. In the end, they were threatened by Joseph and felt they had to do something about it.
In the Gospel, we hear the parable of the landowner and his son who is sent to settle the accounts of his father with the tenants on their land. The tenants don’t want to pay what is owed to the landowner, so every time someone arrives to collect the debt, they are beaten or killed. The landowner thinks that the tenants will respect his son if he is sent but the opposite happens. The tenants kill the son and take his inheritance.
Both of these stories have a connection to the story of Jesus. Throughout His public ministry, Jesus traveled around the ancient ci ties of the Holy Land revealing to the people certain aspects of the Kingdom of God. Many times, what He preached challenged the status quo. The leaders of the Jewish people felt threatened by that and plotted to arrest Jesus and put Him to death. Eventually, they would be successful in that endeavor. But Jesus knew they were plotting against Him; He knew that He would die on the cross because of who He was and what He was sent to accomplish. Yet He didn’t let that stop Him from continuing to preach the Gospel. He persevered in challenging the elders and the teachers of the Law. He continued to confront the people about their treatment of others.
What is our response to Jesus’ message? Do we feel threatened by it or do we accept it as a true call to repentance and seek to change our ways? Each of us is a favored son or daughter of the King who has been called to live out of that identity, to follow the commands of the Lord, and to embrace authentic Christian discipleship. Today, the Lord is inviting us to renew that commitment to Him, to take this challenge seriously, and to allow the words of the Lord to change our hearts. How will you respond?
Image: Joseph Sold by his Brothers, Francesco Maffei