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Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Gen. 44:18-21, 23-29; 45:1-5 & Mt. 10:7-15

Faced with famine Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to look for food. Their brother Joseph whom they had sold into slavery had risen to prominence there. In today's reading from Genesis we see how Joseph broke down in tears of joy at seeing them but the brothers were apprehensive, fearing that he would want to take revenge. However, he explained that his being sold into slavery was part of God's plan to place him in Egypt where he could save many people, including his own family, from starvation.

Joseph must have been filled with God's spirit to be so forgiving. In Egypt he had risen to a position which made him practically the equal of Pharaoh himself. He knew that this favour from God was not for his own benefit. He lived the message which Jesus would proclaim centuries later, that we should give from the gifts we have received.

We rarely, if ever, have as clear a perception of God's plan as did Joseph. What we do see in faith is that we have been blessed by God.

'Count your blessings' is good advice. The gifts we have received must be given to others. Love and service freely given to others is part of the lesson from the story of Joseph. It is also the command and example of Jesus Himself. We must love and be generous to those in need.

The words in today's Gospel which Jesus addressed to His 12 Apostles are addressed just as much to us. The Kingdom cannot be spread while sitting in an easy chair! Christ's work is out there in the world. His command "Go" means sensitizing our heart and eyes to those who are hungry for Christ and do not know Him. We must believe the power and grace of Christ can transform the lives of our family members and the wider community who have strayed from the Lord and those who feel they have no need of Him. We cannot take the easy route of preaching to the converted but must reach out to those professions and fields of study that have lost all sense of the dignity of the human person - especially medicine, law, politics and education. That is what the King is asking.

What response are we giving to our King? Do we wish to ignite our own zeal for His Kingdom from the furnace of divine love which burns in His heart? Do we offer Him the promise of a soldier in combat … to be courageous, honourable, persevering and worthy of the "Apostle of the Kingdom of Christ" name that we bear. We should always be aware of the fact that we have only one life to live on this Earth and not one minute must be wasted in comfort-seeking and selfishness.

Lord Jesus, make our hearts ready for this mission. Sustain it today with your strength and the ability you have given us.

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