Readings and Reflection for March 18, Friday of the Second Week of Lent

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FIRST READING
“Here comes this dreamer. Come now, ‘let us kill him.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 37:3-4.12-13a.17b-28)

Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him afar off, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild beast has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; cast him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him”- that he might rescue him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore, and they took him and cast him into a pit. The pit was empty, there was no water in it. Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers heeded him. Then Midianite traders passed by; and they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver; and they took Joseph to Egypt.

The word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 105: 15- 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/.

VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL John 3:16
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; that whoever believes in him should have eternal life. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

GOSPEL
“This is the heir, ‘come, let us kill him.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46)

At that time: Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, “Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterwards he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet.

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
No human being is born useless. Just as God in creating the earth planted various rich mineral deposits deep within it, so also each human being comes with a lot of rich deposits. The parable of householder who planted a vineyard teaches us a lesson; that God expects us to be fruitful. He knows what we are made of. If the householder had not planted rich seeds, he would not send people to ask for the fruits. God demands our fruits because he knows we have all it takes to deliver.

As much as God has so endowed you with gifts, bear in mind that there would always be people who would do everything to try to stop you from shining. There is wickedness in this world. Tell me, what offence did Joseph commit against his brothers to warrant such hatred? Again, let’s flip this question around: Why do I become so sad when I see people excelling (moving ahead of me) in life? As much as I cannot deny my jealousy towards others, I must bear in mind that there are so many others who are secretly praying for my death or for something bad to happen to me so that they can feel good about themselves; so that they can have something to talk about and laugh.

Think about this: Joseph could have decided to become a recluse seeing his dreams dashed off by his brothers. Joseph could have decided to develop a rather wayward and hardened heart since the people he loved so much could do such an evil thing to him. He could have decided to become an angry person for life; transferring the aggression against his brothers to anyone he meets. But this was not the case.

From time to time, wicked people may have their way in our lives. But, no matter what they do to you, don’t forget, you are still a bundle of potentials. When you die, God will not ask for excuses or reasons why you didn’t shine, God will only ask how you traded with the coin he deposited in you at birth. Stop blaming anyone for your problems, get up today and shine! Be Fruitful! Genesis 1:22.

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