Friday, March 09, 2007

A foreshadowing of Good Friday

Today's Mass readings give us a hint of the dramatic events to come during Holy Week. The first reading tells the story of how Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery for twenty pieces of silver. The Gospel is the parable about the landowner who had a vineyard. The tenants he leased it to did not acknowledge the landowner's rights and killed his son.

Both readings focus on a beloved son. The Genesis text stresses that Joseph was the son whom Isaac (also called Israel) loved the best. This love provoked his other sons to be so jealous of Joseph that they wanted to kill him. In the Gospel parable, the landowner thinks, "They will respect my son." Instead, they killed him because they wanted the son's inheritance.

Did Mary hear Jesus tell this parable? If so, what did she think? Did some foreboding come over her heart? Jesus was her only son, her most beloved son. She must have heard the murmuring of the people who didn't like Jesus and what he taught. We can only imagine the pain that must have caused her.

Both Joseph and Jesus were rejected. Ironically, as the Gospel says, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstonre. Joseph would go on to save his people during the famine that struck Egypt. Jesus, of course, by giving his life redeemed the entire world.

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