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I LOVE the First Reading at Mass this weekend. It actually is one of my favorites. This might sound strange to some, but for me it is a story that oozes with mercy and compassion!
In this famed story from history, Abraham begs for mercy on the city of Sodom. Relying on the deep relationship he had already established with God, he steps out in faith 5 times, beseeching God to spare first 50 people, then 45, 30, 20, and finally 10. The Almighty God responds each time that if even just each amount mentioned was found innocent He would spare the city. In the end, of course, not even 10 people could be found, resulting in complete destruction.
Over the years, I have found myself turning to this story as I have observed the morality in our country spiraling downward at lightning speed.
"Lord, if we can find just 50 innocent people, will you please spare our country?" I can't help but ask over and over again. It's my prayer of hope.
I've heard people say, "There is no hope in the whole world that can get us out of this mess!"
Well, perhaps they are right - in a way.
BUT, by persevering in prayer, I can stand on the mountaintop singing of a hope that is NOT of the world - a hope that invades and overcomes all doubts that the devil can dish out.
Because...NO ONE can top God when it comes to mercy and compassion. And I know that He is pouring it onto our country every day. Do you know how I know?
I see it daily in the incredible gifts of time, talent and treasure that so many Americans pour out to others.
I know because of the incredible witnesses of truly holy people that I have been privileged to meet, some of whom I can safely say very likely have one foot in heaven already.
I know because I am watching an election unfold in which MANY candidates for president actually proudly claim their support of the unborn instead of deny it, a reality I wasn't sure I would ever see in my lifetime, especially as the understanding of marriage and family has declined.
I know because vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life are actually increasing in our country, and, in some cases, at an astounding rate.
How can I look past these and the countless other signs that His mercy and compassion are entering our world by the microsecond and not have hope?
So, in reality, I don't just love this weekend's First Reading.
I need it.
It stands as a beacon of light in a world that so often seems bound in the shadows. It is my beacon. It is yours.
Thank you, Abraham, for giving us an example of a relationship with the Lord that perseveres in prayer, believes with an expectant faith, and accepts His great plan.
Shower us with your mercy and compassion, Lord. We stand here waiting with open arms!!
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