Gn 13:2, 5-18; Ps 15:2-5; Mt 7:6, 12-14
Only the one who does justice and walks blamelessly will never be disturbed. The Psalmist identifies the core teaching of the Torah. Living in peace with each other and at peace in our hearts is possible when we harm no one and slander not with our tongues. This teaching guides the lives of Abram and his nephew Lot even though they encounter moral decadence among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Lot and Abram separated in peace; nevertheless, Lot pitched his tents near Sodom. Lot’s peace would be threatened by the wickedness of his neighbors. The Lord Jesus warns his disciples about those the dogs and swine that do not respect the Law and the Prophets. The justice and peace of the disciples continue to be threatened by disrespect and violence. Such a challenge must be recognized and confronted among disciples and between believers and unbelievers.
Our ancestors in faith, Abram and Lot, were blessed and became wealthy in livestock, silver and gold. Such blessings in this world give birth to envy and greed, even among families and certainly between families. In his wisdom, Abram counseled his nephew that strife and conflict need not destroy family life. Providing enough land and resources for both families was the only way to avoid strife. God who again appeared to Abram blessed this peaceful separation. He promised land for him and his descendants forever, and He promised to provide descendants like the dust of the earth—no one could count their number. In response to this vision of divine affirmation Abram builds another altar to the LORD. Again Abram’s gratitude is expressed in sacrifice. Even as his faith grows so too does the danger grow around him and his nephew, Lot. All though strife among them is avoided, strife between them and their neighbors seems unavoidable. The warning is intimated, “now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked in the sins they committed against the LORD.”
The Lord Jesus also warns his disciples about the dogs and swine who have no respect for the pearl of great price, the Kingdom of God. The threat of being torn to pieces and trampled underfoot continues in our day. Yet, even in the midst of such danger, the Lord Jesus does not command his disciples “to take up arms against a sea of troubles and thus opposing, end them.” Rather, the Lord Jesus teaches us to enter through the narrow gate and travel along the constricted road. Though we may be few, we will live in peace and abound in virtue. This life of holiness will shine brightly before the world and attract the attention of those who have known only violence and strife. We will draw both those who seek peace and those who are only envious of our peace. Living among those who oppose us is not easy, but it may well be the only thing that keeps us from becoming lazy and barren. It’s so easy to live the gospel among other people of good will, but seldom is this the reality of life in our world. The witness of bold believers will aggravate some and invite others. Either way we must become precious in the sight of the LORD and suffer all that is necessary to hasten the coming of the Kingdom of God. Such is our prayer here at Mass, such is the prayer we cry out and the LORD fulfills by giving us His Body and Blood. As we have been taught, “for where the King is there is the Kingdom!”