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Today’s readings are full of distress. The story of Joseph whose brothers threw him in a cistern and left him to die, the servants and son of the landowner who were killed by the tenants left in charge when the landowner went on a journey (definitely a cautionary tale) and even the psalm (105) that recounts Joseph’s story…If we focus on the behaviors of all the characters, we can learn about conversion – at least of Joseph’s brothers – and consider the warning given by Jesus to the tenants if we still need some push to do the right thing!

What I always focus on when I read these stories, however, is the amazing compassion Joseph exhibits when his brothers stand before him. He is so moved by fraternal love that he is impelled to forgive all that has been done to him by those very people whose jealousy caused him such pain. It puts one in mind of Jesus on the cross and prepares us for what is to come over the next month in our reflections. How ready are we to forgive those who have been less than kind to us and, perhaps, to ourselves if we have failed to be kind? Are there people in my life from whom I hold back a welcome – even if only in my heart where only I can see the failure?

I am reminded of a now familiar adage that says, “In a world where you can be anything…be kind.” Perhaps that is the best thought for today.