Pastor Matthew’s reflection on his video chat for the 11th Sunday in Pentecost 2020:
The Genesis reading for today could be titled " The Vindication or Redemption of Joseph" It's the "big reveal" as Joseph's brothers finally realize that their saviour is the very brother they almost murdered and sold into slavery so many years back...a familiar story isn't it? The beautiful thing is that instead of taking vengeance on his brothers now that he has power over them, Joseph weeps with joy that they have been restored to him and shows them mercy and grace in abundance...also a familiar story line isn't it? To quote the psalm for the day (133) "how good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity".
The Gospel for today is about yet another nameless woman who engages in a debate with Jesus and wins! The woman is unnamed in the story (ridiculous!) but tradition gives her the name "Justa". Justa delivers one of the most succinct, probing and effective theological arguments in the whole of the Greek text. She does so in only three lines of dialogue and before she is done, she has changed the heart (and, I think, the entire perspective) of the saviour of the world. This is a story of repentance from hard heartedness and it is not the woman who repents! I love this story!
It is as if Paul is speaking directly to it in the epistle reading for the day, where he is lamenting that his people, the very 'lost sheep of Israel" that Jesus tells Justa that He is here to save, have ignored the gospel. What a complex thing the relationship between God, God's elect and God's Church is?! The takeaway from the epistle is the very last sentence however " For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all".
God's mercy is over all...Baruch Hasem!
t our Lord is doing for us, in us, because of us?