Day 21: Walking with God

Genesis 39:1-23 How then can I...sin against God?: Every sin is, above all, an offense against God and his laws, but it also has an impact upon our communion and our relationships with other persons. (CCC 1440, 2338-2349)

Ch 40:1-23 The gift of interpretation of dreams and visions is closely associated with the gift of interpreting tongues mentioned among the CHARISMS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT by St. Paul. (CCC 798-801)

Job 32:1-22 A fourth visitor, Elihu, appeared. He was not a foreigner but a young man of Israel. Filled with arrogance, he made his case as to why the others should listen to what he had to say despite his youth.

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

  • Things do not look good for Joseph

  • He is a slave in a foreign land, purchased by Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard.

  • However, despite his servitude, the “Lord was with [Joseph]” (Gn 39:2-3), and the Lord blesses Potiphar’s house for Joseph’s sake.

  • In a small way, this is an initial fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham to bless the families of the world through his seed, for now one of Abraham’s seed, Joseph, is a channel of blessing to a Gentile family.

  • Potiphar, recognizing Joseph as blessed by God, elevates him over his household.

  • Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife also takes an interest in Joseph and tries daily to seduce him.

  • Joseph responds: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gn 39:9).

  • One day, finding Joseph alone in the house, Potiphar’s wife grabs Joseph’s cloak and makes a final effort at seduction.

  • Joseph, with wisdom and courage immediately runs away.

  • Left with Joseph’s abandoned cloak, Potiphar’s wife, angry that Joseph did not respond to her advances, accuses him of rape.

  • In reward for his chastity and faithfulness, Joseph is thrown into prison.

  • Once again, Joseph’s cloak is employed in false testimony as Potiphar’s wife uses it as (false) evidence of betrayal and rape.

  • One of the important themes of the Joseph narrative is that “the Lord was with Joseph.”

  • The narrative repeats this truth TWICE as Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt (Gn 39:2, 39:3) and twice again as Joseph is falsely thrown into prison (Gn 39:21, 39:23).

  • Even in the midst of Joseph’s trials and sufferings, God is with Joseph, directing Joseph’s path for good.

  • Joseph himself seems fully aware of this.

  • Despite all the hardships that have fallen upon him, Joseph remains loyal to God and just to men. (*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Why do we not call people from the Old Testament St. Job or St. Moses?

  • A basic answer would be that we tend not to use the honorific “Saint” for human beings who lived in the Old Testament period.

  • We do use it for angels we read about in the Old Testament–St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael–but not human beings.

  • That is probably just an artifact of how the term “Saint” evolved.

  • Originally it was an adjective, meaning “holy” (Latin, sanctus).

  • People started prefixing it to the names of notably holy individuals (holy Peter, holy Paul), and eventually it came to be used as an honorific–like “Mister” or “Doctor” (thus St. Peter, St. Paul).

  • But for whatever reason, people tended not to do this for Old Testament figures.

  • Perhaps this was because holy figures of the Old Testament were thought to already be sufficiently hallowed by their inclusion in Scripture–although that would not explain why the apostles and other New Testament figures got the title “Saint.”

  • More likely, Old Testament figures were seen as less directly relevant as examples to Christians, because they lived before the Christian age.

  • Those living in the Christian age, like the apostles and later saints, are more like us and thus more direct examples for us in a certain sense.

  • However that may be, Old Testament figures were generally not called “Saint.”

  • But sometimes they were. . . . *

  • Joseph has a lot of parallels with the New Testament St. Joseph

  • We will see these parallels between Joseph and St. Joseph later on in this story

  • One thing we DO see is that the Old Testament Joseph is righteous, just like St. Joseph

  • We have been following the stories of normal families, aka broken like we are

  • People who, even though they are trying to do right, they often fail to do so

  • Joseph seems consistently to choose to WALK WITH THE LORD

  • That is the mark of Joseph….THE LORD WAS WITH HIM, repeated FOUR TIMES in today’s reading

  • We can take consolation in our lives because in the midst of this, Joseph has been BETRAYED BY HIS BROTHERS

  • Joseph has been SOLD INTO SLAVERY

  • Joseph has been FALSELY ACCUSED OF RAPE

  • Joseph has been FALSELY IMPRISONED

  • And yet, the ENTIRE TIME, the refrain is…."BUT THE LORD GOD WAS WITH HIM”

  • Sometimes, we only recognize the Lord God being with us when things go the WAY WE WANT THEM TO GO





  • Joseph is a PHENOMENAL example for us

  • Joseph is a victim of a terrible situation THAT HE DID NOT CREATE

  • Joseph did not live like a victim, HE LIVED LIKE A VICTOR

  • He lived walking with the Lord, and the Lord was with him

  • It is so easy for us to forget that IN ALL SITUATIONS, THE LORD IS WITH US

  • Even when our dear friend Job pointed out that he walked with god, he was righteous and yet he didn’t feel like God was with him

  • EVEN THEN, he declares that God is still with him, because Job did not leave God, and God will not leave Job

  • We can declare this as Catholic Christians that have the FULLNESS of REVELATION knowing that not only do we have the Old Testament stories, we also have the FULFILLMENT of the Old Testament through someone you may have heard of

  • The revelation of JESUS in the New Covenant, in the New Testament, where God declares not just with His words, but with HIS VERY SELF that He is faithful to us

  • We can count on God

  • God fights for us

  • In all our situations that are broken and not ideal, we can know WITH ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE that the LORD IS WITH US

  • Just like Joseph

Prayer by Fr. Mike: "God in Heaven, we thank you. We thank you for your Word. We thank you for revealing your heart to us. We thank you for heroes, people who are faithful like our friend Job. We thank you for heroes, people who are faithful like Joseph. Help us to be the kind of men and women who know your name and who know your commands and have the ability and the grace, the perseverance and persistence, the confidence and trust in you to do your will in all things. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen."


More parallels between the story of Joseph and Jesus with two other condemned men. Joseph being sentenced to prison makes me think of Sheol, where Jesus descended to between his death and resurrection. The two dreams of the inmates are of a cup of wine and baked good- foreshadowing the Eucharist.