A homily by Fr. Joseph Edattu, VC based on the shadow of
Jesus in the character of Joseph in the book of Genesis.
In the reflection on the book of Genesis, we were having a
bible study about the life of Joseph of the Old Testament. We look at the
concluding chapters of the book—from
Genesis 47 onwards. There isn’t much to explain or to be given interpretation
in the final three chapters. It can be read and understood by anybody. These
chapters are simple and speak about the blessings that were given by Jacob upon
his sons and how they got settled in Egypt.
As a conclusion of the whole life of Joseph, I would like to
give you a comparison between Joseph in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New
Testament. The Old Testament is nothing, but the biography of our Lord Jesus
written before his birth. All that Jesus is going to do has already been
announced to us through the life of so many people. For example, Moses is a
shadow. Shadow means not the real one but the shadow of the one who is supposed
to come. Moses is a shadow of Jesus. Joseph is a shadow of Jesus. Isaac is a
shadow of Jesus. There are so many shadows like these.
The Shadow is the Type of Christ
There are so many people in the Old Testament whom we can
find as the shadow of Jesus. Even the bible speaks about the shadow. In
Colossians 2:17, it says, “These
are only a shadow of what is to come but the substance belongs to Christ.” The
truth is Christ. All the other things in the Old Testament are the shadows of
what is to come. The shadow, pre-shadow or prefiguration is what we call the “Type of Christ,” or prefiguration of Christ, or
pre-shadow of Christ. All this comes from the idea that everything is just a
shadow, but Jesus is the truth.
In Hebrews 10:1, “Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come
and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices
that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach.” The law means the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the true
form of these realities, it can never by the same sacrifices that are
continually offered year after year make perfect those who approach.
Joseph as the Shadow of Christ
I’m going to speak to you today about the shadow of Jesus in
the Old Testament. There are so many shadows but there’s one shadow, which is
Joseph himself. We will take this up and compare the life of Joseph and Jesus.
There are so many things which happened in the life of Joseph that are really
going to happen in the life of Jesus. That is why Joseph’s life can be
considered as the biography of Jesus before His birth.
Joseph was a shepherd. That is the first point that we need
to reflect on. Joseph was a shepherd and Jesus also claimed that he is a
shepherd. Jesus said, “I am
the good shepherd.”
II. Beloved Son of the Father
Joseph in the Old Testament is considered as the beloved of
the father. Out of all his children, Joseph was the beloved of the father. We
know in the New Testament; Jesus is the beloved of the Heavenly Father. During
His baptism, the Heavenly Father appeared and said, “this is my son with whom I am well pleased.” He said, “my beloved son.” God the father called Jesus as the “beloved son” in the same way Joseph is considered
as the beloved of the father.
III. Sent by the Father
The third point is when Joseph was sent by his father to his
brethren. One day, Jacob told his son, “see, your brothers are lost. We don’t know anything about
them. I am sending you. Take some food, take bread. Go and search for your
Joseph collected food and then came in search of his brethren. In the same way,
God the Heavenly Father said to Jesus, “your brothers are lost. Take the bread from heaven. Go
down to earth and search for your lost brethren.” The story that we can see from
Joseph is the same story that is repeated in the life of Jesus. Jesus is sent
by the Heavenly Father to his brethren, that is, all of us.
IV. The hatred
The fourth point is the connection that we can see when the
brothers of Joseph started beating him and attacking him. Joseph’s brothers
hated him. We know in the New Testament, Jesus is hated by his own community,
his own brethren.
V. Thrown in the pit
Then the next point we can see is when Joseph was beaten so
brutally. He was thrown and hidden into a pit. We also know from the New Testament;
Jesus was brutally beaten and was laid down in a pit.
VI. Sold to the Gentiles
Then we know in the Old Testament, as the next point, Joseph
was sold by his own brother. One among his brothers, Judah, sold Joseph. We
know in the New Testament, one among the twelve disciples, Judas, (Judah and
Judas are almost the same names, in fact) sold him to his enemies to the
Gentiles (the Romans). Judah in the Old Testament sold Joseph to the Gentiles
(the Egyptians), while Judas in the New Testament sold Jesus to the Gentiles
VII. Sold for silver coins
Then Joseph was sold for silver coins just as Jesus was sold
for silver coins. The only difference is Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of
silver coins, while Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver coins. Of course,
the shadow should be less important than the original. So, you can see so many
connections like these, let us continue with these connections.
VIII. The glorious return
Then Joseph prophesied his glorious return or his coming in
glory. See, Joseph had two dreams. In both dreams he said he will be gloriously
lifted up, and everyone will bow down in front of him. He had two dreams in
which his glory is manifested. That was one of the reasons his brothers hated
him because he told his identity, who he is, his glory. In the New Testament,
we read why people hated Jesus because Jesus said, “I am the Son of the Most High God.
Then he spoke about his glorious coming, he said “you will see the Son of Man coming on
the clouds.” The
moment they heard it, they started hating him. They wanted to kill him. It is
the same thing why Joseph’s brothers tried to kill him because they heard about
the glory of Joseph. Why did the Pharisees and Sadducees want to kill Jesus? It’s because he was speaking
about his glory, his coming in glory. The same story can be seen here.
IX. Death and Resurrection
Next, Joseph was handed over to the Gentiles (the
Egyptians); while Jesus was handed over to the Gentiles (the Romans). Then
Joseph was sold and taken to Egypt. When his brothers went to talk to their
father, they told him Joseph was dead. For Jacob, the father, and the rest of
his family, Joseph was considered as dead. But later, we come to know that he
comes back. When he comes back, they come to know that he’s alive. First, they
believed that he’s dead and later they saw him coming back. It shows the death
and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was really dead and then he really came back.
So, the death and resurrection were also mentioned as a shadow.
X. Taken into Egypt
The next point is when Joseph was taken to Egypt. In the life
of Jesus, He was also taken to Egypt. If you know the story in Bethlehem after
His birth, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt. Joseph was taken to Egypt in
the same way Jesus was also taken to Egypt.
XI. The temptations
Then, when Joseph was in Egypt, he was serving at Potiphar’s
house. He went through continuous temptation for many years. He was tempted
continuously but he never committed sin. He was tempted very badly but he never
ever committed sin—not
even a small stain of sin. That is Joseph. In the New Testament, we know Jesus
was tempted continuously but He never committed sin.
XII. The false accusations
We know Joseph was falsely accused of trying to attack
For this, he was imprisoned. Jesus was also falsely accused. There were many
false accusations raised against Jesus. For this, he was thrown into prison.
When Joseph was falsely accused, he never defended himself. He never went
around saying Potiphar’s wife
seduced or tempted him. He did not say “I did not tempt her, I did not attack her. She attacked
Joseph kept quiet. If Joseph had opened his mouth and told the truth, Potiphar
and his wife would have a big problem. But Joseph made no defense for himself.
If you look into the New Testament when Jesus was attacked with so many
accusations one after the another, we know from the Word of God that Jesus kept
quiet. He made no defense. He was completely quiet. All throughout the
interrogation, He kept complete silence.
XIII. The two people condemned
We also remember Jesus was imprisoned just as Joseph was
imprisoned. When Joseph was condemned, there were two people condemned along
with Joseph in the prison. In the case of Jesus, we see two people were
condemned along with Jesus. When Jesus was dying on Mount Calvary, two thieves
were crucified with Him on both sides.
XIV. One of the condemned was saved, the other was lost
When Joseph was in the prison, one of these two condemned
people was saved through Joseph, while the other one was lost. One was saved,
the other one was lost. In the New Testament, one of the two condemned people
along with Jesus was saved through Jesus Christ, while the other one was lost.
Joseph was known for his wisdom. He was a man full of
wisdom. He was believed to be with the power of the presence of the Holy
Spirit. We know Jesus is also full of wisdom, filled with the power of the Holy
XVI. Honored by the Gentiles
Joseph was honored by the Gentiles (the old Egyptians) but
his own brothers rejected him. In Jesus’case, He is honored by all the Gentiles all over the world
but His own people (the Jewish people) rejected him
XVII. Exalted to the right hand of the Most High
Joseph was exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh. He was
second only to the Pharaoh. Joseph was the prime minister of the whole of
Egypt. After the Pharaoh, he’s in charge. He is the second in command in the
whole of Egypt. He was exalted to the highest position after Pharaoh. We all
know in the New Testament Jesus is exalted to the right hand of the Heavenly Father.
In the Old Testament, Joseph is exalted to the right hand of the Pharaoh and
became the highest in command after Pharaoh. So, in the same way Jesus is
exalted in the right hand of the
XVIII. The age during public ministry
When Joseph started his public ministry being the right hand
of the Pharaoh, he was 30 years of age. As per the bible, he was 30 years of
age when he started his ministry as the prime minister of Egypt. At the right
hand of the Pharaoh, he was 30 years of age. We know from the New Testament
when Jesus started his public ministry, he was also 30 years of age. There are
so many connections like these.
XIX. Blessing the world by giving bread
There is a very important connection. In the Old Testament, Joseph
blessed the world by giving them bread during the famine. When the whole world
was suffering with the famine, Joseph gave them bread. In fact, Joseph was the
only source of bread for the whole world during that time of famine. Jesus gave
bread for all those who are in need. In the New Testament, we know Jesus is the
only source of living bread for the whole world. That is why Jesus himself
asked us to pray to give us our daily bread. Only he can give us the bread.
In the Old Testament when everyone came to Pharaoh, they
asked Pharaoh “please
give us bread.” Then
Pharaoh said go to Joseph and do what he says. In fact, this is a pre-shadow of
Jesus. When the whole world needs the food for daily food, the Heavenly Father
is telling us to go to Jesus. He is the living bread. He is the bread who comes
down from heaven, given for the salvation of humanity. He is the living bread,
so go to Him. The whole world is starving and in famine today. Everyone is
hungry for bread, the only living bread and the life-giving bread, is the
eternal bread Jesus himself. Therefore, God himself through these bible
passages is telling the whole humanity to go to Jesus. He is the life-giving
bread, the bread that gives life. These are the very powerful connections we
can see in the bible.
XX. One who revealed all the mysteries
We know Joseph has got a name in Egypt. What is the name
that was given to Joseph in Egypt? Zaphnath-Paaneah was the name that was given
to Joseph. What does it mean? The man to whom all the mysteries are revealed. Likewise,
Jesus is the man through whom all the mysteries are revealed. Jesus said to His
disciples, “all the
mysteries of heaven are given to you, only to you, not for outsiders, but for
was revealing the mysteries to His disciples.
XXI. Unrecognizable face
Another connection is when Joseph met his brothers. He
recognized them but they did not recognize him. In the life of Jesus, we can
see Jesus recognized his disciples (his brothers) but they did not recognize
him (during the Resurrection). It is the same thing for us: God recognizes us
and knows us, but we don’t know God.
XXII. Acceptance of the will of the Heavenly Father
We also know Joseph wanted all his brothers to come to him.
Although these are the brothers who hated him, sold him, beaten him, threw him
into the pit, Joseph forgave all of them unconditionally. He said this beating
is not given by you; it is given by the Heavenly Father. In Gethsemane, Jesus
also prayed that the cup of sorrow was not given by Pilate and the soldiers,
but the cup was given by the Heavenly Father.
XXIII. All should come to me
Joseph once said that all his brothers should come to him.
In the New Testament, Jesus wanted everyone, including the enemies, the
gentiles, the non-believers, to come to Him. This is what Jesus said, “come to me all those who carry heavy
burdens. I will give you rest.”
In fact, Joseph said the same thing to his brothers. “Come to me. I will give you land. You
can rest here.”
XXIV. Hidden for 18 years
When Joseph was sold, he had no connection with his brothers
for 18 years. He was hidden from his brothers all throughout those years. In
the New Testament, we know about Jesus’
childhood until he reached 12 years of age. But after that, for almost 18
years, Jesus was also hidden. We have no clue about him. He was submissive to
his parents and he was having a private life. Nobody knows anything about it.
In Joseph’s case,
at least we know what happened but his brothers did not know what was happening
XXV. Man of compassion
Joseph, in the Old Testament, is considered as a man of
compassion. Jesus is considered as a man of compassion.
XXVI. Reconciled through supper
Joseph had a reconciliation with his brothers through
supper. He arranged for them to have dinner. He asked them to sacrifice a lamb
and prepare a meal. All of his brothers sat around the table to have supper as
a sign of reconciliation. It’s the exact same thing that Jesus did along with
his brethren, the twelve apostles. They sat around the table and had supper. In
the supper, He revealed himself.
XXVII. Washing of the feet
Joseph was, in fact, trying to reveal himself and expose
himself to his brothers through this supper. Before the supper, Joseph made
sure to have the feet of his brothers washed. Though it was not Joseph who
washed the feet of his brothers, it was a steward. But it was from the part of
Joseph to make sure of this before they came for the food. In the New
Testament, we know before the supper Jesus himself washed the feet of His
disciples. We also know about the disciples that before they started for the
dinner, they confessed their sins. They
confessed their sins to the steward and then they shared everything to the world.
We know before we receive Holy Communion, we have to confess
our sins before attending the Holy Mass. When Joseph and his brothers had that
supper, they offered all their food and fruit and everything that they brought
from their home. We also have the
offertory in the Holy Mass, wherein we bring the food and fruit and all the
other things as an offering.
XXVIII. Proclaiming the glory
Then after this revelation, the brothers were rejoicing
gloriously. They went back and proclaimed the glory of Joseph in Egypt. The
brothers went to their father in the land of Canaan, their native land. In this
journey, Joseph gave all provisions for their journey. In the New Testament,
after the resurrection of Jesus, all the eleven disciples went around
proclaiming the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. In
their journey, Jesus gave all the provisions.
XXIX. Preparing a place
Before going, Joseph said, “Everybody, I will prepare a place for
you in Egypt. You all come back with me and stay with me here in Egypt.” This is what Joseph told his
brothers, “go and
bring your father. I have prepared a place for you in Egypt, so that you all
can come and stay with me.”
Jesus also said the same thing to his disciples, “I will go before you and prepare a
place for you. In my Father’s
house, there are enough rooms. I will go before you and will prepare a place
for you so that you all will be with me and my Father forever.”
XXX. All will be brought together
Then Joseph brought all his family members to Egypt to live
along with the gentiles. Jesus, on the other hand, is taking all the Jewish
people and also all the Gentiles together to the Heavenly Promised Land once
and for all. We will all be living together with our Lord Jesus along with the
Gentiles because He is the Lord not only Jewish people and Christians but also
of the Gentiles.
This is very important for us to know because these are the
shadows of what is to come. Jesus is the real one, while the Old Testament is
only a shadow. If the shadows are given so much importance in the bible, how
much more the real one? Please make sure that you join for these homilies and
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