Jesus and Joseph

Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. But what law are we talking about? And what does that have to do with Lent and Easter?

Going all the way back to the Old Testament, Moses went up Mount Sinai and received the 10 Commandments. From the very beginning, God was preparing His chosen people for the coming of Christ. You see, the Old Law, the 10 Commandments, tell us what we are to do but we still struggle in following this law due to our fallen human nature.

Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Law of the Gospel, the New Law of Jesus Christ, perfects the Old Law. The Old Law has been transformed through Jesus’ teachings but, most especially, through His Passion, Death and Resurrection when He sends us the Holy Spirit, which gives us the strength to live the law in love and out of love.

That’s not all the Passion does for us, though. Most importantly, Jesus reconciles us with God the Father and we receive the promise of new life in eternity DESPITE the consequences of original sin, which brought sin and death into the world. His death brings about new life, which permeates the hope and joy of the springtime and Easter season.

Okay, enough with the background information. In today’s first reading, I saw striking similarities between Joseph and Jesus, ones that I had never really seen before despite being familiar with the Old Testament story of Joseph (Yes, thanks to the movie and the Broadway play). Similarities that make you stop and think.

Israel sent Joseph out to his brothers, who were tending their father’s flocks, much like God the Father sent Jesus, His Beloved Son, into the world to reconcile us to Himself. Are we, the Church, the people of God, not considered Christ’s brothers and sisters?

Upon catching sight of Joseph, his brothers plotted to kill him. Were there not many who sought the Lord’s life between the scribes and the Pharisees? How many times do we read in the Gospels that those two groups wanted Jesus arrested and killed? More times than I can count.

Joseph was stripped of his tunic while Jesus was stripped of his garments before His crucifixion. Joseph was sold by his brothers to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver while Judas sold out Jesus to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver.

Despite all of these small similarities, there is one big difference being that Joseph was only sold into slavery and not actually killed while Jesus suffered death on the cross for our sake. There was no other way to pay the price for our sins.

There are many ways we can be drawn into preparation for Easter, sometimes in ways we might not even recognize. Continue to prepare your heart for the Lord’s coming by turning away from sin and turning toward God.

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Erin is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.