Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday of the Second Week of Lent (St. Patrick’s Day)

(Genesis 37:3-4.12-13a.17b-28a; Matthew 21:33-43.45-46)

The two readings today are meant to parallel one another.  In the reading from Genesis Joseph is his father’s favorite son.  His brothers hate him for that fact.  To get rid of him they give him to foreign traders.  In the gospel Jesus presents himself as God’s beloved son.  His fellow Jews resent his unveiling of their malevolent desires.  They will have him arrested when the moment is favorable and deliver him to the foreign occupiers of Israel.

Resentment and hatred sour the soul.  They move people to commit atrocities.  They may be purged but at great cost.   Jesus died to redeem his people and the whole world.  St. Patrick made a great sacrifice in returning to Ireland to convert the people among whom he lived as a slave.  Descriptions of his life include mention of the risk that he incurred in carrying out his mission.

During Lent we should make every effort to purge ourselves of resentment and hatred.  First, we need to recognize where it exists.  Perhaps we feel animosity toward people of a particular race, religion, or lifestyle.  We should be fasting in repentance for the times when our hatred took active form.  Finally, we pray to Christ for mercy.  If we take these steps, we may be confident that at the celebration of the resurrection we will be raised from the scum of hatred.