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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Genesis 37, 3-4.12-13.17-28

Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a decorated tunic made for him.

But his brothers, seeing how much more his father loved him than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.

His brothers went to pasture their father's flock at Shechem.

Then Israel said to Joseph, 'Your brothers are with the flock at Shechem, aren't they? Come, I am going to send you to them.' 'I am ready,' he replied.

The man answered, 'They have moved on from here; indeed I heard them say, "Let us go to Dothan." ' So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot to kill him.

'Here comes that dreamer,' they said to one another.

'Come on, let us kill him now and throw him down one of the storage-wells; we can say that some wild animal has devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.'

But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their clutches. 'We must not take his life,' he said.

'Shed no blood,' said Reuben to them, 'throw him down that well out in the desert, but do not kill him yourselves' -- intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father.

So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his tunic, the decorated tunic which he was wearing,

and catching hold of him, threw him into the well. The well was empty, with no water in it.

They then sat down to eat. Looking up, they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking to Egypt.

Then Judah said to his brothers, 'What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood?

Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, then we shall not have laid hands on him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.' His brothers agreed.

Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they pulled Joseph out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This passage of the book of Genesis tells the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, and of his favourite wife Rachel. The story tells about his brothers who, jealous of his role in the family and his dreams, try to get rid of him. It is an emblematic story that, through Joseph -- a just man convicted because of envy, allows us to catch a glimpse of Jesus, who we will see sold and unjustly condemned to the envy of the priests, the scribes and Pharisees with the complicity of the Romans and the inhabitants of Jerusalem in a few weeks. Reuben, Joseph's eldest brother, convinces his brothers not to kill Joseph but to sell him to the merchants who were passing at the time. After buying him, they lead him into the land of Egypt where Joseph, however, showing significant managerial skills, reaches the highest pinnacle of Egyptian society, even becoming one of pharaoh's closest collaborators. We know that Joseph did not retaliate against his brothers. Indeed, in the dramatic moment of famine, he will be them and their father's saviour, but not without first having rewoven the relationship of fraternity that the brothers had torn apart. Joseph's story helps us to understand Jesus' story who saves us from sin and death. And he starts to save us, taking us away from loneliness by creating a new fraternity, a new network of relationships and reports based not on blood but on the spirit of love that he gives us. Thus, he makes us sharers in his vision, his great dream, to make all people of the earth a great family that has God as Father and him as the firstborn of all of us.

Memory of Jesus crucified