“God sent me before you to preserve life,”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 44:18-21.23b-29; 45:1-5)
In those days: Judah went up to Joseph and said, “O my lord, let your servant, I beg you, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ And we said to my lord, ‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and heal one is left of his mother’s children; and his father loves him.’ Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes upon him. Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.’ When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’ Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring down my grey hairs in sorrow to Sheol.”’ Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, “Make every one go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, I beg you.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm105:16-17.18-19.20-21 (R. 5a)
R/. Remember the wonders the Lord has done.
But he called down a famine on the land;
he broke their staff of bread.
He had sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, sold as a slave. R.
His feet were weighed down in chains,
His neck was bound with iron,
Until what he said came to pass,
and the word of the Lord proved him true. R.
R/. Remember the wonders the Lord has done.
Then the king sent orders and released him;
The ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him master of his house
And ruler of all his possessions. R.
ALLELUIA Mark 1:15
Alleluia. The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel. Alleluia.
“You received without pay, give without pay.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 10:7-15)
At that time: Jesus said to his apostles, “Preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay. Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the labourer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. As you enter the house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The instruction given to the apostles by Jesus involves three things: 1. A definition of their mission: the proclamation of the kingdom of God, curing the sick, raising the dead and driving out the devil. Jesus gives them a share of his own power and authority to carry out these powerful works. 2. The need for personal commitment and total trust. They “received without charge, give without charge….” They are to be totally committed, absolutely available and radically free from material baggage and earthly comforts, trusting solely in divine providence. 3. Their attitude to the possibility of rejection. It should not be an occasion for discouragement, but a challenge to move on with courage to other places with the same mission. Even today we have missionaries with the same mandate, going to distant and difficult terrains with the Good News, facing rejection, persecution and danger. Their only strength is the power of Christ that accompanies them.