14Jul 14 July. Friday, Week 14

Saint Camillus de Lellis, priest

1st Reading: Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30

Jacob joyfully meets his long-lost son Joseph. Now he can die in peace

When Israel set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph’s own hand shall close your eyes.”

Then Jacob set out from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and the goods that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and they came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

Israel set Judah ahead to Joseph to lead the way before him into Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. He presented himself to him, fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. Israel said to Joseph, “I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive.”

Gospel: Matthew 10:16-23

Jesus foretells persecution, even from one’s own family. Whoever holds out to the end will be saved

Jesus said to the Twelve, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”


Tears of sorrow and of joy

Today’s texts are appropriate for Friday, the  day when we especially commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross. In them we hear about tears of sorrow as well as tears of joy and relief. Joseph and Jacob weep over their long separation and final reunion. The gospel, while it does not explicitly mention tears, implies them as brother hands brother over to death, and children “turn against parents and have them put to death.” In their meeting, Jacob and Joseph realized that years of grief and of hope can be dissolved into tears of joy, for as soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his elderly father’s neck and wept a long time in his arms.

So, although Jesus warns of family hostility and even of betrayal, he advises us to persevere in hope and with noble ideals. Instead of avenging one betrayal with another, we are to trust completely in God’s ideals of forgiveness and fidelity, and “hold out till the end.” Along the way we are promised that we will be given what we are to say;. for “the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.” It is only when this ideal of goodness extends throughout our entire world that humanity’s best hopes be realized, and the Kingdom of God will have come.

Saint Camillus de Lellis

Camillus (1550-1614) was a soldier and a dissipated gambler as a young man in Rome, until his conversion at the age of 25, under the influence of the gentle Saint Philip Neri. He became a priest with a special devotion to caring for sick people, for whom, along with a group of companions he founded the order of the “Servants of the Sick”, later called the Camillians.