Our first reading at Mass today is part of the story of Joseph from the concluding chapters of the book of Genesis (from chapter 37). He is resented by his brothers – first they throw him down a pit, then they sell him into slavery.
He is resented for his dreams, which suggest supernatural gifts (as often in the Bible). In a way those with dreams are often resented – particularly if they dream about a better world and challenge people’s thinking.
As you may know Pope Francis brought out a book before Christmas called ‘Let us Dream’ – a companion text to his letter ‘Fratelli Tutti’ which is the focus of our Lent course in this parish this year. It is about how we can build a better world after the crisis of the last year. Early on he writes: ‘This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities – what we value, what we want, what we seek – and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of…Come, let us talk this over. Let us dare to dream.’
The pope, who embarks today on a courageous and hazardous pilgrimage to Iraq, the land of Abraham (the great-grandfather of Joseph), is often resented because of his dreams, both in the world at large and, shockingly, in the Church; some of those who are opposed to him would happily see him thrown down a pit, at least metaphorically. As we pray for his safety we should pray also for their conversion of heart.
Since Joseph went to Egypt and became very prominent he is depicted in this icon as an ancient Egyptian.
God bless and take care