In just a few days we will celebrate the final days of Christ on Earth. We will witness Him enter as the King of Kings come to rescue us. Unfortunately most of us won’t recognize Him, but that would be no different from so many in the past. In today’s reading from Genesis we hear the brothers of Joseph being face to face with him, but they didn’t recognize him. It wasn’t until Joseph revealed himself to his brothers that they fully understood who he was.
This is the story of Holy Week and Pascha which is just a few days away. God came to us, His brothers and sisters, and we didn’t recognize him. Joseph invited his brothers to his home to come and spend time with him. Jesus has invited you into His house during Holy Week and Pascha to spend time together. Joseph’s brothers would never have discovered who he really was if they had not accepted his invitation. We also we will never fully discover who Jesus Christ is if we don’t accept His invitation to join Him in Church next week. It isn’t too late. It is just a few days away, but you can still make plans to be in Church during Holy Week. Just remember.....if you don’t accept His invitation, you may never discover His true identity.
Today’s Old Testament Readings:
Isaiah 58:1-11 (RSV) - Thus says the LORD: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God. 'Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, "Here I am." "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Genesis 43:26-31; 45:1-16 (RSV) - When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which they had with them, and bowed down to him to the ground. And he inquired about their welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?" They said, "Your servant our father is well, he is still alive." And they bowed their heads and made obeisance. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!" Then Joseph made haste, for his heart yearned for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out; and controlling himself he said, "Let food be served."(Chapter 45:1-16) 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 pray 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. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Make haste and go up to my father and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry; you shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have; and there I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come; lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty.' And now your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Make haste and bring my father down here." Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. When the report was heard in Pharaoh's house, "Joseph's brothers have come," it pleased Pharaoh and his servants well.
Proverbs 21:23-22:4 (RSV) - He who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. "Scoffer" is the name of the proud, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. The desire of the sluggard kills him for his hands refuse to labor. All day long the wicked covets, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent. A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears will endure. A wicked man puts on a bold face, but an upright man considers his ways. No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel, can avail against the LORD. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them all. A prudent man sees danger and hides himself; but the simple go on, and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.