Year C: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Genesis 18: 20-32
The link between the Gospel and today’s First Reading has to be persistence in prayer.
God has become so appalled at the goings-on in Sodom and Gomorrah that He has decided to destroy the towns with all their inhabitants.
Abraham enters a conversation which could almost be described as negotiating with God. He cannot believe that his God would really destroy the good person along with the wicked - and says so...
“What if there are 50 just men in the town? Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men?....Do not think of it! Will not the judge of the whole earth administer justice?”
And God says that He will not destroy the town because of the fifty just men. As the conversation progresses, Abraham finally “persuades” God not to destroy the towns even if there are only ten good people there.
As an example of persistence and of trust in the justice and mercy of God, Abraham’s prayer would be hard to beat. It is interesting too that he is not just negotiation safe passage for the good people - he is using their goodness, in a way, to save the whole town - including the less savoury characters there.
Perhaps it is his own search for a just and merciful outcome that allowed God to seem to be conceding points...and perhaps God was showing too that there were not even ten good people in the towns - for they were, in the end, destroyed.
What does it mean for me?
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