HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF LENT
HOMILY THEME: FROM VICTIMS TO VICTORS : The parallelism in Joseph’s & Jesus’ story!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: * Gen 37: 3 – 28, Matt 21: 33 – 46.
‘Defeats are part of life’s menu’. So says Vima Dasan. ‘Life is not a straight line pattern, moving us from success to success; rather it is often two steps forward and one step backward’. The greatest lie sold by the modern day neopaganistic – pentecostal – version of Christianity is that every suffering and set back is a curse from either the devil or an enemy. Christians are made to believe that once you are ‘born – again’, success is assured and ‘you shall be the head and not the tail’. Yes, success is assured because every child of God is a child of favour. But just like in the case of Joseph, in today’s 1st reading, favour from his parents brought him envy from his brothers. Favouritism breeds hatred and acrimony. One day you must be found “alone at Dothan” and a great conspiracy will be plotted against you. They stripped him of his robe but not his destiny and sent him to the pit but not to his grave.
God sent a Reuben to intervene and ministered the counsel of Judah to his brothers reminding them that Joseph was “our brother, our own flesh and blood”. So, they lifted him out and sold him like Jesus for 20 shekels of silver. Joseph’s demotions henceforth became promotions and he went through 3 schools; the school of gratitude – learning to be grateful to God for every privilege henceforth (since he knew he could have been a dead man), the school of humility – learning to put himself last (including his dreams) and others first, the school of management – the challenges at the house of Potiphar was getting him ready to become the next prime minister of Egypt.
Permit me to treat both stories from the two readings as if they were all parables and linking them all to what happened to our Lord Jesus Christ. The following are the recurrent variables; God’s destiny / plan, Envy of enemies, the suffering of God’s servants, the end of triumph from victim to victors. Yes, ‘the very stone which the builders rejected will always become the cornerstone’. The ‘Joseph’s story’ prefigures the ‘Jesus’ story’ in several ways ;
(a) Jacob’s ( Israel’s love for Joseph is like God’s love for the world, Jn 3 : 16.
(b) Both Joseph and Jesus had a faultless character and were acknowledged for their absolute trust in God.
(c) Both Joseph and Jesus suffered immensely from the hatred and betrayal of their own brothers.
(d) Both Joseph and Jesus were promoted after their sufferings.
(e) As God made Joseph’s destiny to influence the destiny of the whole Israel, he made Christ’s sufferings on Calvary to influence the salvation of the whole world.
The secret of Joseph’s success was that the Lord was with him and he was also with the Lord. His dream was connected to his vision and his vision was connected to his destiny (God’s plan). Today, so many children of God/ men of God have a major disconnect from the will of God and the plan of God. Every other thing becomes presumption. May God bless you today and connect your visions to his so that you will move from being a victim to being a victor!
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