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Going Deeper – Gospel Reflections

Readings for Friday 3/5/2021

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”

So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.

They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Responsorial Psalm

R.    (5a) Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
When the LORD called down a famine on the land
and ruined the crop that sustained them,
He sent a man before them,
Joseph, sold as a slave.
R.    Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
They had weighed him down with fetters,
and he was bound with chains,
Till his prediction came to pass
and the word of the LORD proved him true.
R.    Remember the marvels the Lord has done.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions.
R.    Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Verse before the Gospel

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son;
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them,
thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:

 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables,
they knew that he was speaking about them.
And although they were attempting to arrest him,
they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

Building the Kingdom

“Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” Matthew 21:42

Are you among those from whom the Kingdom of God will be taken away? Or among those to whom it will be given so as to produce good fruit? This is an important question to sincerely answer.

The first grouping of people, those who will have the Kingdom of God taken away from them, are represented in this parable by the tenants of the vineyard. It is clear that one of their greatest sins is greed. They are selfish. They see the vineyard as a place through which they can enrich themselves and care little about the good of others. Sadly, this mindframe is easy to adopt in our own lives. It’s easy to see life as a series of opportunities for us to “get ahead.” It’s easy to approach life in a way that we are constantly looking out for ourselves rather than sincerely seeking the good of others.

The second grouping of people, those to whom the Kingdom of God will be given so that it will produce good fruit, are those who understand that the central purpose of life is not to simply enrich themselves but to share the love of God with others. These are the people who are constantly looking for ways that they can be a true blessing to others. It’s the difference between selfishness and generosity.

But the generosity to which we are primarily called is to build up the Kingdom of God. This is done through works of charity, but it must be a charity that is motivated by the Gospel and has the Gospel as its ultimate end. Caring for the needy, teaching, serving and the like are all good only when Christ is the motivation and end goal. Our lives must make Jesus more known and loved, more understood and followed. In fact, even if we were to feed a multitude of people in poverty, care for those who were sick, or visit those who were lonely, but did it for reasons other than to ultimately share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then our work would not produce the good fruit of building up the Kingdom of Heaven. In that case, we would only be philanthropists rather than missionaries of the love of God.

Reflect, today, upon the mission given to you by our Lord to produce an abundance of good fruit for the upbuilding of His Kingdom. Know that this can only be accomplished by prayerfully seeking out the way God is inspiring you to act. Seek to serve His will alone so that all you do will be for God’s glory and the salvation of souls.

My glorious King, I pray that Your Kingdom will grow and that many souls will come to know You as their Lord and God. Use me, dear Lord, for the upbuilding of that Kingdom and help all my actions in life to bear abundant and good fruit. Jesus, I trust in You.

Source of content: mycatholic.life