March 26 Lent 3
29 When they got back to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they described to him everything that had happened to them: 30 “The man, the country’s governor, spoke to us with a harsh tone and accused us of being spies in the country. 31 We told him, ‘We’re honest men, not spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, all our father’s sons. One of us is gone, but the youngest is right now with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 The man, the country’s governor, told us, ‘This is how I will know you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me, take grain for those in your households who are hungry, and go. 34 But bring back your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies but honest men. I will give your brother back to you, and you may travel throughout the country.’”
35 When they opened their sacks, each man found a pouch of his silver in his sack. When they and their father saw their pouches of silver, they were afraid. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You’ve taken my children from me. Joseph’s gone. Simeon’s gone. And you are taking Benjamin. All this can’t really be happening to me!”
37 Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring him back to you. Make him my responsibility, and I will make sure he returns to you.”
38 But Jacob said to him, “My son won’t go down with you because his brother’s dead and he’s been left all alone. If anything were to happen to him on the trip you are taking, you would send me—old as I am—to my grave in grief.”
Comment: how did Joseph feel when he heard his brothers say to him “We are 12 brothers, all our father’s sons. One of us is gone . . .” His brothers still counted him as their brother. He was not forgotten, but remembered. In their minds he still counted.
Mark 7:14-23 NRSV
14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
God, you have rejected us—
You’ve been so angry.
Now restore us!
2 You’ve made the ground quake,
splitting it open.
Now repair its cracks
because it’s shaking apart!
3 You’ve made your people suffer hardship;
you’ve given us wine and we stagger.
4 Give a flag to those who honor you,
so they can rally around it,
safe from attack.
5 Save us by your power and answer us
so that the people you love might be rescued.
6 God has spoken in his sanctuary:
“I will celebrate as I divide up Shechem
and portion out the Succoth Valley.
7 Gilead is mine;
Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet;
Judah is my scepter.
8 But Moab is my washbowl;
I’ll throw my shoe at Edom.
I shout in triumph over Philistia!
9 I wish someone would bring me to a fortified city!
I wish someone would lead me to Edom!”
10 But you have rejected us, God, haven’t you?
God, you no longer accompany our armies.
11 Give us help against the enemy;
human help is worthless.
12 With God we will triumph;
he’s the one who will trample our adversaries.
Comment: do you see this psalm as a psalm re-evaluating expectations? If God gives the victory, and there is no victory, am I proceeding in the right way? I think this is what Jesus was hoping for, but missing, in the religious leaders: self-evaluation, soul searching asking God if how we are following fits in with God’s plan.
Prayer: remind us, O God, of your triumph over our sinful ways. Amen.