Reflection for Tuesday, July 4, 2017: 13th Week in Ordinary Time.
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Today's readings call us to dwell on the nature and quality of mercy, along with our need for it. |The story of Lot and his family being rescued from destruction along with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah reminds that God's mercy is actively engaging us, even when we are reluctant. After admonishing Lot to leave, we are told that when Lot hesitated, the angels went so far as to take Lot by the hands to lead him and his family out of harm's way.|Query what caused Lot to hesitate in the face of such a dire warning? We can only wonder about the source of this confused state, which seems to persist after he is outside the city. It seems that Lot would prefer to die than endure the hardship of a journey away from the plain destined for destruction. Yet the angels here accommodate his request.|In my estimation, Lot's conduct would have been a great disappointment to his uncle Abraham if he had known about it. Can you imagine the angels shaking their heads in wonder about this guy, on their way back to home base? It seems that Abraham's prayers helped to save Lot, even though he might have deserved another outcome. |Just as we do not understand this generosity toward Lot, we may also puzzle over the death of Lot's wife. This incident suggests that there are limits to mercy, but we do not know exactly where they are. While Lot got a new lease on life, we do not exactly know what he did with it. It would be nice to know that he accomplished some great work, but that may not be the case. |One can speculate for one outcome or the other, but I do not think that the story calls us to speculation. The story shows us that God is rich in mercy, even toward people like Lot and his family who may not have had much going for them in terms of deserving to be rescued. That mercy may also come from the prayers of others, revealing that we may be less independent than we think. Shouldn't this motivate us to be grateful for the prayers of others, and to be generous with our own prayers? |Today's Gospel presents another lesson about mercy, this time involving those who really want to be saved! While poor Lot's senses may have been dulled from his environment, the disciples who were with Jesus had a clear and urgent sense of their need. Could it be that when we spend time with Jesus, we are awakened to our need for mercy? And when we ask him, he gives us what we need. Afterwards, the disciples still had to process this miracle and to figure out what to do with their second chance, their new lease on life. They chose to be in awe of Jesus and to follow him. A good example, I think. |Lord, please help us to spend time close to you. Awaken our sensibilities, which may be dulled by sinful dimensions of our environment that keep us from seeing our need for mercy. Help us to be responsive and grateful for your initiatives to care for us, including the prayers of others. Give us faith to pray earnestly for others, so that we may share the joy of participating in your generous mercy. Thanks be to God.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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