Joseph’s story from the Book of Genesis–our first reading today– prepares for the story of Jesus. Joseph, his father’s favorite, was rejected by his brothers out of jealousy and sold for twenty pieces of silver. Thought dead or enlaved, Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. Eventually, he saved his brothers and all their families from starvation.
Joseph, favored by his father, was rejected, a special kind of pain.Yet afterwards, merciful and forgiving, he embraced his brothers and saved them.
In today’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel, after being acclaimed by a large crowd welcoming “the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee” and spreading their cloaks and casting branches before him, Jesus is rejected by the chief priests and elders of the people. (Matthew 21:1-18)
You’re rejecting the Son of the Landowner, Jesus says in a parable directed to them. Their answer is death for the One proclaiming the coming of Kingdom of God.
Physical pain was not the only pain Jesus endured in his Passion, our readings indicate. Rejection by enemies, then by his own friends, was a large part of his sufferings.
Is he rejected by us? As we follow the Passion of Jesus we’re not distant observers with no part in the story. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” the spiritual asks. Yes, we were there, we share in the rejection but also the mercy and forgiveness Jesus showed.
As in the story of Joseph, the story of Jesus does not end in rejection and death. “The stone rejected by the builders will become the cornerstone.” Risen from the dead, Jesus promises forgiveness and life for all ages.
You went to Jerusalem, Lord,
to announce a kingdom come,
a promise of God fulfilled.
a hope beyond any we could conceive.
Teach us to keep the dream of your Kingdom alive
even when we see it denied.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Fridays in Lent are good days to follow Jesus in the Stations of the Cross, and ancient devotion. Here are some online resources:
Stations of the Cross; Text https://passionofchrist.us/stations-adults/
Stations of the Cross for Children: https://passionofchrist.us/stations-of-the-cross-children/
Prayers : https://passionofchrist.us/prayers/