HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Gen. 41:53–42:38]

THE seven years of plenty came, as Joseph had foretold. There was great abundance everywhere. And Joseph gathered the surplus of the grain every year, and stored it up in the granaries. But, after the years of plenty, the seven years of scarcity set in, and famine prevailed in all the countries. The people of Egypt cried to the king for bread, but he answered them: “Go to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you.”

Joseph opened all the granaries and sold to the Egyptians. Likewise the people from other countries came to Egypt to buy corn. At last the famine reached Chanaan, and Jacob, having heard that there was wheat in Egypt for sale, sent ten of his sons with money to buy food. But Benjamin, the youngest, he kept at home, fearing lest some evil might befall him on the way.

 

Fig. 16. Egyptian wheat.

The ten sons of Jacob arrived safely in Egypt, and seeing Joseph, they bowed down before him, not knowing that he was their brother. But he at once recognized them, and remembered the dreams he had dreamed. He wished to know whether they were now sorry for their sin; so he spoke to them, as if they were strangers to him, and said: “You are spies.”

They answered: “It is not so, my lord, but we have come to buy food. We, thy servants, are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Chanaan. The youngest is with our father; the other is not living. Joseph then cast them into prison for three days.

On the third day, he brought them out and said: “If you be peaceable men, let one of your brethren be bound in prison, and go ye your ways, and carry the corn, that you have bought into your houses; and bring your youngest brother to me, that I may find your words to be true, and you may not die.”

Then they said one to another: “We deserve to suffer these things, because we have sinned against our brother, seeing the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this affliction come upon us.” They thought that Joseph did not understand them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter. But he understood all that they said, and his heart was moved with pity, so that, turning aside from them, he wept.

But in order to see if their repentance was sincere, he returned to them and ordered Simeon to be bound before their eyes. Then he commanded his servants to fill their sacks with wheat, and put each man’s money secretly in his sack, and give them, besides, provisions for their journey. This being done, they loaded their asses with the corn, and returned home.

They related to their father all that had happened, and, on opening their sacks, every man found his money tied in the mouth of his sack. Seeing this, they were troubled and afraid. And Jacob said to them: “You have made me childless. Joseph is not living, Simeon is kept in bonds, and Benjamin ye will take away. My son shall not go down with you, for, if any evil befall him, you will bring my grey hairs in sorrow to the grave.”

Admonishing sinners. Joseph treated his brethren severely, not out of revenge, but out of love. He wished to bring them to self-examination, repentance and amendment of life. To admonish sinners, so as to convert them and lead them to see their sins and repent of them, is a duty of brotherly love and one of the spiritual works of mercy. St. James says (5:20): “He who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.”

The object of sufferings. God, in His love, inflicts temporal sufferings on sinners, so that they may thereby be saved from the eternal sufferings of hell. These sufferings, such as sicknesses, misfortunes &c., ought to have the effect of turning the sinner’s thoughts to God, death, judgment and eternity, of teaching him to see the vanity of earthly things, and of leading him to repent of his sins, do penance, and care for the things of his soul. Such troubles are called visitations, for it is in this way that God visits His wandering children, and seeks to bring them back to the right way. “For, whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth” (Hebr. 12:6). Millions of the blessed would not now be in heaven, if God had not visited them with tribulations in this world.

The strictness of parents. Parents must punish their children sometimes, so as to keep them from evil. They do so, and must do so, out of love. Parents who indulge their children in everything have no true love for them, because they spoil them. Happy the child, whose parents are strict. “He that spareth the rod, hateth his son, but he that loveth him, correcteth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24).

Economy. Joseph practised economy in the time of plenty, in order to be able to help others in the time of need. The wise son of Sirach says: “Remember poverty in the time of abundance, and the necessities of poverty in the day of riches’ (Ecclus. 18:25).

Feeding the hungry. On one hand, we should guard against extravagance, on the other, against the detestable vice of avarice. Joseph fed the hungry Egyptians with bread: we too ought to be willing to help those in need.

A bad conscience. It was really from kindness that Joseph secretly returned their money to his brothers, and gave them provisions for their journey. But his generosity caused them no joy, only anxiety and fear, because their consciences were guilty. They feared that God meant to punish them for the crime they had committed against Joseph, and had brought it about that their money should be left in their sacks, so that they might be regarded and punished as thieves. An evil conscience spoils every joy. It fills the sinner with fear, and follows him about wherever he goes.

The treasury of Christ’s merits. Even as Pharao said to the hungry Egyptians: “Go to Joseph”, so does the Heavenly King say to all those who are laden with sin and misery: “Go to Jesus, and do all that He tells you”, even as He said at the Transfiguration: “This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him.” If we obey this command, we shall be saved from death. Jesus Christ bequeathed to His Church a treasury of His superabundant merits and graces, from which, by means of the seven Sacraments, we can draw for all our needs.

St. Joseph. The Church applies those words: “Go to Joseph”, to the holy foster-father of our Lord, to whom the Joseph of Egypt bore much resemblance. St. Joseph was holy, chaste, and innocent, received revelations from God, was put in charge of the Holy Family, and is now in heaven, the true guardian and protector of every child of Jesus. His powerful intercession opens to us the treasury of divine grace. He is the special patron of Holy Church. We ought to venerate St. Joseph very much, follow his virtuous example, and implore his intercession.

APPLICATION. If you have any pain to bear, such as toothache &c., offer it to God, and resolve to lead a better life for the future. If you are punished by your parents, say to yourself: “It is what I deserve.”

Have you not often been extravagant? Do not waste anything, and do not spend money unnecessarily, for instance, on sweets. Do not purposely spoil your clothes, books &c.; and willingly give of your savings to the poor.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com