Joseph was the beloved son of Israel. His brothers were extremely jealous and sold him into slavery. Joseph rose in Egypt to become Pharaoh’s right hand man. In our first reading from Genesis 41 and 42, you don’t see that story, but you need to know it to get the context of the reading. (It would be helpful to read those skipped chapters.)
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 10, we read about the call of the Twelve. Jesus sends them out with these instructions: “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
Go to the lost sheep. Excellent advice for our times, wouldn’t you say? Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of July is to pray for those who are distant from the faith. Like those family members and friends who used to go to church but no longer do. You know, the lost sheep. Notice, though, that Jesus didn’t tell the Twelve to just pray for the lost sheep. They were to go and preach and minister to them. Those same instructions apply for us as well.
Father, give us the grace and strength and words to go to the lost sheep and invite them back into the fold, that they may experience all of your love and grace. Amen.
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