Commentary on the Gospel of
In today’s first reading, Lot’s clan separates from Abram with Lot ostensibly choosing the better land. In the Psalm, the just man is promised a future with the Lord. The Gospel encourages the right path even though it may be more difficult.
Having two sons who were close in age, I can appreciate the tensions that may have arisen with Abram and Lot’s shared space. My wife remarked just yesterday that she was wondering how much the stress due to the competing interests of our two boys had shortened her life. I can remember the first times that we left our boys alone. One son was assigned to the upstairs of the house and the other to the downstairs until our return. We would still get repeated calls on our cell phone with complaints of transgressions. (Now they are best of friends and call each other regularly. I am not sure if this change was due to years of maturity or the fact that they ended up in different cities.)
Refection on the Gospel makes me consider how often I tend to gravitate to what appears to be the easier route. On a hot day, I would much rather sit in front of the television in an air-conditioned room than work the in the yard on things that need attention. (This is part of the reason that I am 40 lbs. overweight.) When I was younger, I was virtually unstoppable. I had fewer resources, but I was able to contribute more to an effort. Today I still put in a significant amount of time on job-related work. The difference is, now that my children have grown up, I find that the time that formerly had been spent on shuttling them to and from their school activities is not invested as productively as it was before. Some people tell me that this is OK; I have earned this time for my relaxation.
Today’s readings show Abram being rewarded for accepting the more challenging environment, that is, choosing the right, but more difficult route. Where do I spend my time and what is the purpose behind my actions? In a world where success is too often judged by the bottom line, I have great respect for those who have taken on new challenges filling their time with responsible service to the greater good using the time available after their children have left home.
Lord, my prayer today focuses on listening to your call, identifying a purpose and discerning a context for time well spent. I pray for a better recognition of Your presence. I pray for a greater openness to the ways that this might lead. Help me to take action guided and strengthened by Your grace.
Lot plodded ahead looking for an easier way while Abraham was directed into the land appointed by the Lord. Jesus made clear the better path was going to be the road less followed. The psalm passage may have some insight into at least one better avenue. I read “Who lends not his money at usury … shall never be disturbed” as a call for service to the poor.
My sometimes silent Lord,
The right path is not always clear.
I want to hear your call, but often I do not.
Without Your grace my life seems to lack a purpose.
This is the season of your Gift of the Spirit.
Help me to hear what is in my heart.
Strengthen me in recognizing Your call to the right path.