< <  

Friday, March 5, 1999

  > >
Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Psalm 105:16-21
Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

View Readings
Similar Reflections

hope for hopeless families

"When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him." —Genesis 37:4

The family of Israel (Jacob) was a mess. Israel had two wives and two families. He favored Joseph, his first son from his favorite wife. Therefore, the brothers in Israel's other family resented Joseph. "They hated him so much that they would not even greet him" (Gn 37:4). Joseph's half-brothers intended to kill him with their own hands (Gn 37:18). Then they decided to throw him into a cistern and let him starve to death (Gn 37:22). They finally sold Joseph into slavery (Gn 37:28) and then lied to their father by giving him the impression that Joseph was killed by a wild animal (Gn 37:20, 33). Joseph's brothers lived that lie for many years. Some of them became guilt-ridden and blamed each other for breaking their father's heart (see Gn 42:22).

More and more families can relate to the chaos of Israel's family. They have experienced rejection, hatred, infidelity, divorce, brokenness, abuse, or even incest. Because Israel's family was eventually reconciled, healed, and restored, we have hope that the Lord can restore any family. The Lord promised that He would work through our fasting and that we would be called "Restorer of ruined homesteads" (Is 58:12). There is hope for even the most destroyed family. There is hope this Lent. There is hope in Jesus. The Lord promises: "I know well the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope" (Jer 29:11).

Prayer:  Father, be a father to our most hurting families.

Promise:  "The Stone Which the builders rejected has become the Keystone of the structure. It was the Lord Who did this and we find it marvelous to behold." —Mt 21:42; Ps 118:22

Praise:  John and Carol actively began planning their divorce. Then their son was arrested. Jesus used this situation to stop their divorce and keep them together to care for their son.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 23, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 1998