As I meditated on both of today’s readings, I could almost hear Paul Harvey, one of my least favorite radio voices, intoning, “And now you know the rest of the story.”
We KNOW that Joseph eventually becomes powerful and rescues his brothers. We KNOW that Jesus died at the hands of his enemies and eventually triumphed. It’s hard not to instinctively finish the stories mentally.
However we have to remember that Joseph’s brothers did not expect to see him again and that the Pharisees couldn’t have imagined that Jesus would be worshiped worldwide 2000 years later.
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
This says something important to us about our dealings with other people, especially those less powerful than ourselves. Our words and actions can have unimagined and unintended repercussions for years to come.
I get a forceful reminder of this every semester when I read
the yellow critique sheets that students fill out in class. While
most remarks are kind, I am chagrined to find out that throw away
remarks in class can inadvertently hurt feelings (I’ll never
again make a joke about artistic temperaments) or that I came off
as insensitive, unfair – you name it. It wasn’t intentional
but it happened. Mea culpa.
However we can never go wrong by being saying something encouraging
when someone looks downcast and taking extra time to reach out and
help. Even small things may have unknown impact for the good. One
more thing to work on during Lent!
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