Today, the first reading gives us the story of a family. It is a typical story of many families throughout history. Unfortunately, it is a story of pain and suffering. Joseph was the youngest of the sons and was his father’s favorite. His father loved Joseph very much and had an ornamental coat made for him. His brothers began to resent him.
It didn’t help that Joseph had dreams and shared them with his brothers. The dreams had the brothers worshiping him. That resentment grew until it became an outright hatred for their brother. It eventually led them to so much jealousy and hatred that they wanted to kill him.
Fortunately, one of his brothers, Reuben, suggested that they just put him in a cistern instead of killing him. They stripped Joseph of his coat and put him in a dry cistern. While his brother Rueben was taking his turn with the flock, another brother suggested that they sell Joseph to a caravan that was traveling through the area on the way to Egypt. Reuben planned to get Joseph back to their father so when he returned, he went to the cistern to release Joseph but he was gone. It was then that he learned that Joseph was sold to the caravan for twenty pieces of silver.
The brothers decided to take a kid goat and kill it, put the blood on Joseph’s coat and had someone else take it to their father to ask if it was his son’s. Their father recognized it and said that a wild animal had killed his son Joseph.
That’s the way that sin develops. First it is a little sin, then it happens more often, then the magnitude of the sin gets bigger and bigger. Eventually, the sin begins to overtake us. That is what happened to Joseph’s brothers. It started with resentment because Joseph was Dad’s favorite. It grew to jealousy and hatred. It then turned into selling their brother to become a slave and a conspiracy to lie to their father. They even involved someone else to carry out their sin. Their acts broke their father’s heart.
The tenants in the Gospel followed the same path. First, they beat a servant, killed another and stoned another. Then the owner of the vineyard sent more numerous servants and the tenants treated them the same way. Then the owner sent his son thinking that they would honor his son. Instead, they killed the owner’s son so they could get the inheritance for themselves.
The tenants started by beating a servant, then killing and then stoning others. This same treatment escalated to more and more of the servants that the owner sent to collect his rightful harvest. Their sin grew and grew until they killed the owner’s son.
During this Lent let’s take some time to find a quiet place that we can reflect on our lives, our innermost thoughts and feelings, the very depths of our hearts, to determine where we have started to let little things creep into our lives. Unless we do this, the little things will become bigger things. We must build our lives on Christ, the cornerstone of the Church.
It is worth a few moments of quiet time to reflect on our own lives and what is in our hearts. Are we jealous of others? Do we covet what others have for possessions? Do we lie when it is convenient? Are there people we really can’t stand? Do we get really frustrated when we have to deal with some people?
The Gospel acclamation says it so well: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
I believe Lord. Help me to live a life that will bring honor and glory to you.