Then Jacob gave his sons this charge, "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors - in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah - the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites."
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers said, "What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?" So they approached Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this instruction before he died, 'Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.' Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, "We are here as your slaves." But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones." In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph's knees.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, "When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here." And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Give thanks to the Lord, tell his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
O sing to him, sing his praise;
tell all his wonderful works. (R./)
Be proud of his holy name,
let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
Consider the Lord and his strength;
constantly seek his face. (R./)
O children of Abraham, his servant,
O sons of the Jacob he chose.
He, the Lord, is our God:
his judgements prevail in all the earth. (R./)
Jesus said to the Twelve, "A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
"Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven."
Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing about it. God lovingly watches over the life and death of even his smallest and least valuable creatures. How much more, then, does God care us, who are worth more than many sparrows. Jesus goes so far as to say that every hair of our head has been counted by God. Divine Providence means that God has the smallest detail of our lives in view. But how can this be? Like Spinoza, I may wonder whether the God who made the universe really cares about me personally. I am just one of such a vast throng. How can God possibly care about my life? Yet, Jesus declares that God is indeed interested in the details of our lives.
Each of us can have a personal relationship with God. Jesus invites us to trust ourselves to God, without fear. ‘There is no need to be afraid.’ This is the kind of relationship he had with God. He knew in his heart that God cared, and so handed himself entirely to the Father, even during his passion and death. Each of us can have the same relationship with God that Jesus has. He invites us to share in this and he makes such a sharing possible by sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Through the Spirit, we are held securely in the hands of our Father.