Forgiven, Again and Again

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An IMDb search of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes up with the following description: “In this filmed adaptation of the long-running musical, we see the story of Joseph, son of Jacob. The favored son, he is betrayed by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery and driven to Egypt. Though beset with adversity, Joseph perseveres through wit and faith and becomes the Governor of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh.”

Many of us have probably seen this exact movie or maybe even the original musical itself. But what about the rest of the story? Today’s first reading from the end of the book of Genesis gives us a little glimpse!

We see the deaths of both Jacob and Joseph. We see fear and deceit from the brothers (smh) and forgiveness on the part of Joseph. Again.

What we don’t see in this passage is the blessing that Jacob imparted on his 12 sons prior to his death, which he then followed with instructions regarding his burial. Nor do we hear about Jacob’s funeral but we do get the emotional ramifications.

Almost as if they don’t know Joseph, the brothers become fearful of retribution. Will he kill them? Put them in jail? Starve them? They know deep in their hearts the wrongs they have committed against Joseph. The punishment must fit the crime, right? And so they resort to lies and conniving words to avoid consequences.

I step back and put this scene in perspective. Almost as if we don’t know our Heavenly Father, we become fearful of retribution. We know deep in our hearts the wrongs, the sins we have committed against Him. The punishment must fit the crime, right? But we forget time and time again of His endless love and mercy. All He desires, all He longs for, is for us to return to Him. To express forgiveness for our sins. Pope Saint John Paul the Great said, “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking His mercy.”

Joseph embodies this spirit SO WELL. His brothers literally sold him into slavery in Egypt and he forgave them. His brothers seek to harm him again, this time by their words, yet Joseph forgives them AGAIN, saying, “Even though you meant to harm me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people.” Joseph then took his brothers in, cared and provided for them and their children.

Take heart, brothers and sisters. Sin will always be treated with forgiveness and mercy in the eyes of Our Lord. Praise Jesus.

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Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.