Homilette for Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Genesis19:15-29; Matthew 8:23-27)

It may seem like the lesson of Sodom is one of revulsion with homosexual behavior. Remembering the context of the story, we realize that the angels warn Lot to flee the city before God annihilates it out of outrage from the townsmen’s attempt to violate Lot’s guests. But as often happens in Genesis, the wisdom is more profound than what first meets the eye.

When the three strangers visited Abraham in the country, he welcomed them like kings. He gave them water to refresh their skin and a feast to recover inner forces. Now in the city of Sodom, Lot similarly treats two of the same travelers, but his neighbors threaten them. Indeed, the men of Sodom move to rape the travelers as apparently is their custom. Lot in a rather foolish effort to protect his guests offers the men his virgin daughters, but the Sodomites reject the women.

The men of Sodom, like those of Babel earlier in Genesis, demonstrate the corruption of the city. City dwellers conspire to advance their knowledge and technology, but their progress leads them astray. They become arrogant which is to say that city-dwellers see themselves as independent of God’s authority. Not accountable to a higher power, they take advantage of those who are not their own but still represent the Creator’s handiwork. This turning inward on themselves causes the men of Sodom to even despise women. There is no antidote for such barbarity. God must destroy them completely. Although it is a hard lesson, city dwellers must develop a righteous fear of God to accompany their advancement in science.