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Lectionary reflections - Year A
Ordinary Time
Proper 19

Genesis 50.15–21
Romans 14.1–12
Matthew 18.21–35

It is very annoying to think that God may have different standards of judgement from ours. All three of today’s readings warn that the obvious surface reaction to one particular incident may turn out to be quite wrong, if you put it in the bigger context of what God is doing with the world.

Take the story of Joseph and his brothers, for example. There is no denying that his brothers treated him abominably, and even they do not try to excuse their behaviour. Even they realize that their reaction to an aggravating, spoiled little brother was completely out of proportion, and so they cannot quite believe in Joseph’s forgiveness. Although they have been living safely and comfortably in Egypt for some time, under Joseph’s influential protection, they still expect it to be withdrawn as soon as their father dies. They know what they have deserved from Joseph. But Joseph has seen the bigger picture. He has seen what God has done through the violent jealousy of the brothers, and he has seen that he was not the only one to benefit – all the Egyptian people who might have starved without Joseph’s foresight can, in a strange way, plead for forgiveness for the people who unwittingly brought Joseph to Egypt...

Taken from Lectionary reflections year A by Jane Williams - Published by SPCK

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