Daily Reflection
July 10th, 2003
Cathy Pedersen
Campus Ministry 
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Genesis 44:18-21, 23-29; 45:1-5
Psalm 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Matthew 10:7-15

I have just returned from my annual week of retreat.  As I unpacked my bags, I was amazed at all the "extras" I packed, discovering that I didn't need many of the clothes, or books or CD's that I had taken with me, "just in case I might need them."

Perhaps I should have read today's Gospel before I packed last week.  Jesus sends his followers out to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Yet, he reminds them that they do not need extra clothing or sandals, gold, silver or copper.  "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give," freely sharing God's word and healing powers.  Further in the passage, he reminds the followers that it is not their responsibility to force people to heed God's message.  In fact, if people do not receive the message, the followers are to shake the dust from their feet and leave.  I think Jesus' message was to "let go and let God."

Personally, I find it very difficult to live the "let go and let God" message.  In my overdrive to be a responsible person, I often get caught up in my perspective of what needs to be done and how to do it.  I may even forget to invite God's spirit into the process.  At times, I find it hard to admit that I may need the help of God or another.

So, the Genesis' reading today led me into a reflection of how I handle need in my life.

Judah and his brothers are in great need of food and grain.  They know that they will displease the governor by not bringing their youngest brother to Egypt.  Yet, Jacob, their father, insists that they beg the Egyptians for food.  Judah and his brothers are powerless before the govenor; yet, out of their great need of food, they are willing to return to the governor of Egypt in order to obtain the necessitites of life.  However, not only are they in the vulnerable state of need of food, the governor reveals himself to be Joseph, the one whom the brothers had sold into slavery in Egypt many years earlier.  They are in need and at Joseph's mercy! However, Joseph encourages them to not reproach themselves.  Joseph sees God's presence in the fact that now the Cannanites are able to obtain food from Egypt despite the wicked act of family betrayal by the brothers.

When we are in need of someone's advice, or time or talents, are we too caught up in our own vulnerable state of need, of feeling inadequate, to allow others to be there for us?

And what if we are approached by others in need?  Are we like Joseph, open, vulnerable and responsive to the needs of others?  Or are we tempted to "lord it over the other," assume a superior attitude or wield power over the other in need, emphasizing the giver/receiver relationship?

As a nation, how do we handle our times of need, realizing the importance of interdependence with other nations?  As a nation, how do we handle our responsibility to share our wealth, our power, and our resources with those in need?

Instead of bartering or prescribing outcomes for what we do, can we share what we have and do it unconditionally and with trust - to "let go and let God," personally and as a nation?

I pray for God's spirit of unconditional love and presence in my life as an individual and in our national presence to others...when we are in need and when we are approached by those in need.


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