December 14, 2010

A Homily on Joseph, the Chaste and Innocent

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"And Joseph left his garment in her hand, and fled outdoors" (Genesis 39:12).

The innocent and chaste Joseph endured two great and difficult temptations and overcame them: the temptation of wicked envy on the part of his blood brothers, and the temptation of adulterous passion from the Egyptian temptress. Jealousy sold him as a slave, and the passion of adultery drove the innocent one to prison.

In both cases he returned good for evil: he gave food to his hungry brothers and preserved the life, throne and people of frightened Pharaoh. His brothers thought to slay him, but God saved him; the adulterous woman thought to destroy him, but God saved him.

Out of slavery and imprisonment, God crowned him with glory and unlimited authority. And him whom his evil brothers could have killed with one stroke and whom Potiphar's powerful wife could have crushed in an instant, God made the unlimited master over the lives of millions of people and the only nourisher of his starving brothers.

Such is the wondrous mercy of God toward the righteous. Thus does the Lord know how to save and glorify the innocent and the chaste. In the greatness of the destiny of Joseph, we see the greatness of God's mercy.

There is one eye that never sleeps, my brethren. Let us cling to God and not fear anyone. Let us be innocent and chaste and not fear evil, or slander, or prison, or ridicule, or misfortune. On the contrary, let us rejoice when all of this befalls us because of our innocence and chastity; let us rejoice and await with faith the revelation of God's wonders toward us. Let us, in every storm, await the thunder of God's justice - and afterward the calm.

O mysterious Lord, Who secretly but vigilantly accompanies the righteous in slavery and in prison, and manifests Thy mercy in Thine own time, help us to be innocent and chaste. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.