Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 41:55-57.42:5-7a.17-24a; Matthew 10:1-7)
Although the greater challenge today is obesity, famine still exists. Africa seems especially susceptible to the problem. It is not so much lack of rain there that causes crops to fail as the deterioration of the environment through excessive grazing. War is another major cause of hunger in Africa. In war farmers are reluctant to plant, and the dislocation of large numbers of people creates huge emergency needs. If the world community could prevent war, it would go a long way in preventing famine.
During the great biblical famine which today’s first reading gives account, some of Israel’s sons take recourse to Egypt which has stored vast reserves of grain. There they unknowingly meet their brother Joseph whom they mistreated in the past. Fortunately for them Joseph’s kind heart inclines him to forgiveness rather than vengeance. He will take care of his family although he mischievously masks from them his identity until his full brother Benjamin is brought to him.
To assure the virtual elimination of famine, peoples and nations must likewise replace vengeance with forgiveness. It is not a one-sided quest, however. Where wrongs have been committed, the guilty party needs to ask forgiveness. Such mutual self-abnegation is achieved only with divine assistance which already has been extended in Christ. But it is not that we expect all peoples to embrace Christianity before world peace can be achieved. Rather we pray that the governments of the world recognize the reality of a human family under God, which Jesus epitomized, as the basis of international relations.