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"They seized him, dragged him outside the vineyard, and killed him." —Matthew 21:39
Joseph's brothers intended to kill him, but Reuben proposed they throw him into a cistern where he would die slowly of starvation (Gn 37:21-24). Although Reuben planned to come back and rescue Joseph, the other brothers thought they were being nice guys by giving Joseph a slow death rather than a fast one. Judah was even nicer than the other nice guys and proposed that Joseph be sold as a slave for twenty pieces of silver (Gn 37:26-28).
The brothers transacted the sale of their brother after they had sat down to their meal (Gn 37:25). They were so callous that they could eat after condemning Joseph to starvation, and then sell him between mouthfuls of "grub." How cold-blooded can the human person be to murder, munch, and sell all together? It's like shooting someone while snacking on a bag of potato chips.
We can be appalled at others' callousness, but we must realize we're the same way. Jesus' brutal death on the cross is the everlasting monument to the cold-blooded callousness of the human race. By our sins, without flinching, we shared in the murder of Jesus, God Himself (Catechism, 598). Although we try to make excuses, we were no nicer than Joseph's brothers. We not only killed our Brother, we killed God's only Son. We killed God. We must repent.
Prayer: Father, this Lent may I be baptized in — immersed in — repentance (Lk 3:3).
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
Praise: Through the years, the Davids opened their home in hospitality to countless people of all ages.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Reconciliation on audio AV 1A-1 or video V-1A.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009
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