Father David's Reflection for Second Friday of Lent
The Responsorial Psalm encourages us to remember what God has done in order to trust in what he will do: "Remember the marvels the Lord has done" (Psalm 105).
In Joseph's story (Genesis 37:3-28) we can only recognize "the marvels the Lord has done" with hindsight. Now that we know what Joseph did for his family later, we can see God's guiding hand in the choice his brothers made, first not to kill him outright, then to sell him into slavery. But as Joseph was led off to a foreign country in chains he probably thought God could have done much better for him than he did! In reality, though, God was doing something greater than Joseph could have dreamed of. God used the brothers' sin to put Joseph in a position that later enabled him to save his whole family (see Genesis, chapters 39 to 50).
In Matthew 21:33-46 we see that Joseph was a preview of Jesus. Jesus, too, was betrayed by his own people, his family. The "chief priests and the elders of the people" in Israel did not want Jesus taking their place. In the parable they are the tenants who said, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance." And God did not intervene to stop them from killing him.
To those who believed in Jesus, this appeared to be total defeat. That is be- cause they failed to "remember the marvels the Lord has done." If they had, they should have known that God is able to accomplish his purposes in spite of the opposition of his enemies, and even by using their victories against them.
Jesus was making the point that even if they killed him his enemies could not defeat God's plan: "Have you never read in the scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees realized that in his parable "he was speaking about them."
Remembering is a key element in discipleship. The Eucharist is remembering. To "celebrate" means to "single out for grateful remembrance." If we recall (usually by reading or hearing) the great things God has done, reflect on them, and let them invite us to faith, hope and love, our assimilation of the past will prepare us for the future. But we have to remember actively. The formula for remembering through Scripture is "Confront, ask questions, decide." We remember to understand and to act.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Make use of the treasure of God's recorded actions in Scripture. From what he has done learn what to expect. Learn hope.