Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28; Ps 105 Remember the marvels the Lord has done; Mt 21:33-43,45-46
The question has often been posed, "do parents have favorites?"
Here is a question for the ages, a question i am sure many parents think about as they relate to their children, depending of course on how many they have to relate with through out a given day.
But is it proper for parents to have favorites and is it proper for them to manifest that favoritism in such manner that the rest of the children begin to suspect it, experience it, and of course despise it.
I am not sure if my parents had favorites. There were ten of us in the family. I do remember moments where some of us got so called "better" treatment than others at different times. There did seem hint of favoritism toward the older children in the family.
The task of good parenting is not to have favorites. The task of good parenting is to treat each child as the best child and most important child while disciplining them all the same.
Yet, we know there are those who like some of their children better than others.
This is the case with today's first reading, "Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic (coat of many colors)."
Of course this favoritism led to trouble. The brothers weren't having none of it. They were hot, anger, envious, and just down right pissed off, "When the brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much they would not even greet him."
How quickly can love be treated with such hostility. How quickly can affection turn sour in the mouths of others.
Now perhaps, Joseph wasn't the innocent little lamb he seems to be. It seems that little Joseph in his long tunic may have flaunted a bit this gift of closeness with his father; perhaps he made a point to make sure those brothers of his understood just how import he was in their father's eyes.
Pride may have been involved in the unfolding of the story.
Little Joseph may have taken advantage of his father's love and used in his advantage, which meant he used it to the disadvantage of hi brothers.
Not only did Joseph have his father's love, he also was a gifted dreamer (Gen 37:5). IT seemed Joseph was one of those kids that had it all. He had the looks, the charm, the athletic ability, his father's affection, and to top it off he had the gift of dreams, dreams that exalted him over his brothers (Gen 37:6-11)
Needless to say, the brothers had up to their chin with Joseph and his fancy clothes, and fancy dreams, and fancy affection of their father. They decided to equal the playing field by taking him out.
They sold Joseph to some traders for 20 pieces of silver.
The story foreshadows the life of Christ. Christ was the one loved best of all by the Father. He came to us, his brothers and sisters to share God's dream of holiness and mercy. He flesh was clothed in the garment of divinity.
The more he offered goodness to others, the more he was rejected. Unlike Joseph, it was his humility that people despised. It was his truthfulness that people rejected. It was his love that they turn against.
For silver pieces he too was sold into slavery, imprisoned and eventually killed.
What was meant for evil became a great good. For through His offer of himself, we become the ones loved best of all by the Father.
We, sons and daughters, encounter the depth of love the Father has for us. Does God have favorites? Absolutely! We are loved best of all.
As you make the way of the cross this Friday, and journey in the footsteps of Christ as receives the cross and rises and falls along the way, keep this in mind: it was for us, that we might finally get it through our thick skulls, we are loved best of all.