Seventeenth Sunday In Ordinary Time C 2010

Imagine receiving a slick glossy brochure in the mail inviting you to spend your next vacation in their city.   On the cover is a picture of a river flowing on the outskirts of town.  Opportunities to swim, fish, or go boating are in abundance.  Lists of enticing stores and delicious restaurants attract your interest.  There is something for everyone in the family.  It sounds like a great place to visit, maybe even live.   So would you travel to Sodom and Gomorrah?

So often, we think Sodom and Gomorrah are so wicked that no one would want to be there.  That’s not quite the case; in fact, Abraham’s nephew Lot traveled there because of its fertile land.  It was a grazing paradise for animals.  We can easily dismiss these people as wicked but maybe in dismissing them we fail to recognize our own sinfulness.

Jewish rabbi’s told stories of Sodom like, the residents gave money or even gold to beggars, after inscribing their names on the coins, and then subsequently refused to sell them food. The unfortunate stranger would end up starving, and after his death, the people who gave him money would reclaim it. 

In another incident, Eliezer, Abraham's servant, went to visit Lot in Sodom and got in a dispute with a resident over a beggar.  Eliezer was hit in the forehead with a stone, making him bleed. The resident demanded Eliezer pay him for the service of bloodletting, and a judge sided with the resident. Eliezer then struck the judge in the forehead with a stone and asked the judge to pay the resident.

We might be horrified by these stories and thank God for destroying these towns.  At the same time, we live in a country were the poor are harassed in parks, abused by teenagers, and even killed out of pleasure.  We live in a country where lawsuits are out of control, where honest citizens are sued under frivolous charges.  Even worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, we live in a country where teenagers bring guns to school and kill their very own.  At least Sodom and Gomorrah tortured outsiders and the poor,

But all is not lost, we are here today taking the place of Abraham.  At times, like Abraham, we fail and we sin but we also gather here interceding for the world.  Our Father in heaven always loves us and calls us to share in his life.  He is willing to send forth the Spirit to renew the face of the earth if only we but ask. 

Jesus promises that if we are persistent, the Spirit will come.  This Spirit can do something greater than destroying a land; it can recreate what sin distorts.  The Spirit gives us hope because no matter how bad things seem, God is in charge of human history.  Sin and death cannot reign forever because Jesus Christ has reconciled all things to himself.  May the Eucharist protect us from sin and allow us to trust in God’s love for us.

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