Haters beware! – Friday, 2nd Week in Lent – Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28/ Matthew 21:33-43,45-46

Place the text from Genesis, Matthew and the life of Jesus side by side and what emerges is a very obvious pattern. There is a father (Israel/the landlord/God) who loves his son and sends his well-beloved to a hate-filled people (Joseph’s brothers/the tenants/those among the Jews who rejected Christ) who plot his death, strip him of his garments, throw him out(well/vineyard/pit) and then put him to death. Joseph had his brothers turn against him; Christ had his people turn against him.

Reading these texts, you come to see that your life and mine have more than just stands of similarity with the narratives. We could either be the victims of hate or even worse the perpetrators of hate. If you, knowingly and willfully are the cause of someone’s pain then the scriptures have some strong words for you; REPENT NOW!

All three narratives tell us that hate is not the last word in God’s plan of things; hate does not and cannot win. You may revel in your evil, and you may even succeed in killing the body but while your evil plan may work for a while, God’s victory is going to run right over you. His angels with trample you. You can never have the last word with God’s plan.

We see hateful people at a personal and institutional level; BOTH ARE BULLIES and even more so when they sit in positions of power. Joseph experienced hate at a personal level, and Christ at an institutional level. In nations across the world, leaders who swear on religious books to protect their nations, use and abuse that power to torment and put to death those who raise their voices against hate and injustice and they are ‘supported’ by the silence of ‘good people’ even ‘godly leaders’ who never speak out and ironically join these leaders, shaking hands and exchanging greetings with these new age dictators.

I mentioned earlier that God has the last word but it does not mean that this word necessarily translates into an immediate intervention. While the landlord’s son and Our Lord were put to death, Joseph escaped death though subject to suffering. The final victory of God is experienced differently in each case; Joseph becomes the second most important man in Egypt, the tenants meet with a violent death and Jesus rises triumphantly.

I like how the Gospel of today ends. “When the chief priest and scribes realized that he was speaking about them, they would have liked to have him arrested but were afraid of the crowds who looked at him as a prophet.” Hateful people who read this reflection know that the cap fits, collaborators of hateful people know that the cap fits and the innocent suffering take consolation in the glory of God, who has not, will not and cannot let his people down.

Read this text as you may! I write the words you are clever enough to draw the images in your mind.

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