Day 24: Tears of Joy

Genesis 45:1-28 Joseph’s admission reveals great mercy towards his brothers. He consoled them in their grief and regret by stating that everything happened according to GOD’S PLAN and for the good of his family so they might survive the famine. (CCC 268-271, 312)

Ch 45:16-28 Pharaoh’s invitation to the brothers to relocate their families in Egypt was a gesture that sustained the children of Israel. A few generations later, however, another pharaoh would oppress and enslave the Israelites. (CCC 1221)

Ch 46:1-4 It may appear to be contrary to God’s will that Jacob and his family should have left Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, for Egypt, a people steeped in idolatry. Israel’s dream, however, affirmed that God would remain with the Israelites and would build the mighty nation even as they resided in Egypt. (CCC 1964)

Ch 46:5-27 Seventy: This indicates completion, and so the seventy members of Jacob’s family who came to Egypt symbolize the totality of God’s faithful. The number is not so much an accurate census as it is an indication that the promise of a mighty nation made to Abraham would be long in coming.

Ch 46:28-34 The sons of Jacob were shepherds, and they settled in the region of Goshen. This had the benefit of keeping them separate from the Egyptians, who held shepherds in disdain.

Job 37:1-24 Rather than question God’s motives, Elihu counseled Job to stand in awe of God’s works and to glorify him with good works. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that Elihu was correct in his discourses. However, Elihu wrongly presumed that Job’s suffering was God’s punishment for some secret sin and, therefore, his innocence was a deceptive appearance (*Exposito Super Iob, 37, 24) (CCC 230)

Ch 38:1-38 God’s intervention emphasized his transcendence and his omnipotence, his role as Creator and sustainer of all things, who constructed all of creation down to its smallest detail and who keeps it in orderly harmony and existence. In a series of RHETORICAL QUESTIONS with an ironic tone, he demolished the pretense of wisdom among the gathered men: however great their wisdom may have been by HUMAN STANDARDS, it could never rival the INFINITE WISDOM OF GOD. God’s ways are SO INSURMOUNTABLE that he can even draw good from evil and sin. Given both God’s infinite love for us guided by his supreme wisdom, we certainly OWE HIM OUR UNFAILING TRUST. (CCC 314)

Ch 38:7 Sons of God: This refers to angels (cf. 1:6). (CCC 332)

Ch 38:16-38 God knows all things perfectly and keeps ALL OF CREATION in a harmonious existence. (CCC 268)

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

Key Event 14: Jacob’s Family Moves to Egypt (Genesis 46)

Joseph is eventually reconciled to his brothers when they come to Egypt because of the widespread famine. Pharaoh allows Israel (Jacob) and his sons and their families to settle in the best of the land of Egypt.

  • Joseph discerns the change in heart; his brothers are different men now.

  • He breaks down crying and reveals, “I am your brother!”

  • After Joseph’s brothers overcome their shock, there is great rejoicing.

  • They ask forgiveness for their great fault.

  • Joseph magnanimously understands, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Gn 50:20; see Gn 44:5-8).

  • Joseph, because of his faith, is able to see God’s hand in all his suffering and blessings.

  • It is because of Joseph’s slavery and God’s blessings, which gave him his powerful position in Egypt, that Joseph is able to spare his family from starvation and death during the famine.

  • Joseph brings Jacob’s entire family down to Egypt where Jacob is reunited with his beloved son and Jacob’s family prospers—and the covenant blessing entrusted to Jacob can continue.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • The moment Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he weeps so loudly that even Pharaoh hears him

  • He throws himself upon Benjamin’s neck and they weep together

  • They hadn’t met before this

  • This reunion of two brothers who have never met was a powerful moment

  • It is superseded when Joseph is reunited with his father, Israel

  • The tears are remarkable

  • Why would we cry when good things happen to us?

  • Someone wise once said, “Why do we weep when there is joy? Why does a mother weep when they lose a child and then finds them again? We weep because we know it could have been otherwise.”

  • We are so aware that Israel could have gone down to Sheol not knowing that his son is still alive

  • Joseph could have continued to serve in Egypt not knowing his brothers and father are still alive, and never meeting Benjamin

  • So it could have been otherwise

  • So they weep out of joy because they know how fragile they are

  • We weep knowing that if the Lord is not with us, that fragility means death

  • But when God is with us, as he was with Joseph and Israel, there is room in our lives for joyful tears

  • What joy breaks your heart today because you know it could have been otherwise?

  • What sorrow breaks your heart today?

  • Maybe you are not reunited with that loved one.

  • Maybe you haven’t yet been forgiven.

  • Maybe you haven’t yet offered forgiveness.

  • All this is definitely worth talking to The Lord about so go and talk to Him

  • Pray for each other because we are not journeying alone, but together

  • We have so far to go, but we have come so far

Prayer by Fr. Mike: "Father in Heaven, we thank you and we give you praise. Thank you so much for the gift of this day. Thank you for the gift of your Word. Thank you for the gift of revealing your heart to us, because that is what you do in your Word. You speak to us and you continue to speak to us. Even Lord, when your Word is challenging. Even Lord, when your Word is confusing and we don’t understand what is going on and we don’t understand what you are trying to say to us. Still, you continue to speak and we continue to listen. Give us hearts that can understand what we are hearing. Give us hearts to understand what you are saying. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."


It feels like every day of reading Joseph's story in BIAY has split the events of his story up to show how much it mirrors the that of Christ's betrayal, death, resurrection, and now his reappearance and to his disciples!