FIRST READING
“God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 49:29-33; 50:15-26a)

In those days: Jacob charged his sons, and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah — the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites.” When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, ‘Say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, we beg you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”  But Joseph said to them, “Fear not, for am I in the place of God?  As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Then he reassured them and comforted them. So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s house; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph took an oath of the sons of Israel, saying, “God will visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps  105:1-2.3-4.6-7 (R. Psalm 69:33)
R/. You who are poor, seek God, and your hearts will revive.

Give thanks to the Lord; proclaim his name.
Make known his deeds among the peoples.
O sing to him, sing his praise;
tell all his wonderful works! R.

Glory in his holy name;
Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
Turn to the Lord and his strength;
constantly seek his face. R.

R/. You who are poor, seek God, and your hearts will revive.

O children of Abraham, his servant,
O descendants of the Jacob he chose,
he, the Lord, is Our God;
his judgements are   in all the earth. R.


ALLELUIA 1 Peter 4 :14
Alleluia. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of God rests upon you. Alleluia.

GOSPEL               
“Do not fear those who kill the body.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 10:24-33)

At that time: Jesus said to his apostles, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim up on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection

In today’s gospel passage Jesus repeats thrice the words, “Do not be afraid”.  He is aware of the fierce and deadly persecution his disciples would be subjected to, Jesus warns them that he himself would be subjected to persecution. They need to face such situations not with fear, but with courage and hope because they are blessed with the immortal soul which no one can destroy even though they may kill the material body. Secondly, the Heavenly Father is mindful of every situation, every movement, however small and insignificant they may be. He would not abandon his loved ones. The disciples need to stand firm and declare Christ despite trials. We need not lose faith and hope when the opposing powers strike at us. God is in Control, and he will continue to be in control till the end.

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