Commentary on the Gospel of
The drama in the first reading rivals that of daytime TV. Global famine. Betrayal of the youngest - the most vulnerable? - out of jealousy. The betrayers - his own brothers - humbled and desperate enough to go to another country to beg for food. Unknowingly appealing to the one they betrayed. And that one now has the authority to release the stored grain to feed the starving of his world but he stipulates the conditions to his brothers. He wants the one betrayed, perhaps even killed (himself!), to be brought to him before he will release one brother held captive and the grain to feed the starving. He has given his brothers a seemingly impossible task. At least one brother suffers remorse but the one betrayed perhaps suffers more. In anguish he turned away and wept.
This story brought to mind how God turns the tables. The first shall be last, the last first.
But there is good news. In the second reading, Jesus gives authority to the twelve who are carefully listed by name, even Judas, to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, casting out evil spirits, healing illness, proclaiming the kingdom of heaven is at hand. I am puzzled why Jesus instructs his apostles to go only to the lost sheep of Israel and to avoid pagans and Samaritans. However, as Fr Dennis Hamm SJ pointed out to me, this changes after the descent of the Holy Spirit. Now the whole world should be told by acts of healing and reconciliation the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
For me, the kingdom is already here and we can rejoice that despite global catastrophe-betrayal, famine, plague, Covid-19, - we can hear the word of God and keep it, and know that God is with us through it all. This God who gets foolishly close, as Fr Pat Malone SJ wrote.
What is the Kingdom of God for each of us? What action can I take today to help realize the Kingdom in my life and that of all I meet today? We, too, have been given this authority.