When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them. When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt. In fact, all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world.
Ever since Saint Paul described Adam as a type of the one who was to come we look for types in the Old Testament. These are men and women who in some way resemble Christ, and they are often animated by his wisdom. Joseph the Patriarch, great grandson of Abraham, is such a man.
- First he was like Jesus in that he was the favorite of his father Jacob, as Jesus was the son of God, “upon whom my favor rests.”
- His many-colored coat reminds us of the seamless tunic that Jesus wore. This tunic was a kind of alb like that which priests wear. All the (many) colors of the rainbow are in white, and his tunic shines with all the graces of salvation.
- Joseph was betrayed by those he trusted most, his own brothers.
- He was sold into slavery as Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver.
- He was sorely tempted by the wife of Potiphar
- He interpreted dreams and could discern the will of God;
- He ascended from the pit of a jail cell to sit at the Pharaoh’s right hand;
- He was given great authority, as Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth;
- He doled out the superfluous grain of Egypt to “all the world” as Jesus bestows superabundant graces upon the whole world;
- He did not forget his family of origin, as Jesus never forgets where he came from,
- He forgave his brothers for their betrayal as Jesus forgives all who turn to him with sorrow for their sins
- Joseph gave his family a privileged place in Egypt, as the disciples of Jesus will judge the nations;
- And so forth…
I’m sure there are more similarities of Joseph to Jesus; and then we would notice that the story of “Blessed Joseph, her spouse” is also modeled upon the hero of Genesis.With today’s suggested Collect we pray “that your people, gathered by the word of life and sustained by the power of the Sacraments” may go out with the Spirit of Jesus to the whole world. We go in the generous, merciful and pleasant spirit of the Patriarch Joseph, ready to demonstrate how God’s sun shines on the bad and the good, and his rain falls on just and the unjust.