Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 19:15-29; Matthew 8:23-27)
It may seem like the lesson of Sodom is merely one of disgust 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 restore their energy. 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. Their sin is not sexual crime but also violation against the virtue of hospitality.
The men of Sodom, like those of Babel earlier in Genesis, demonstrate the corruption of city-life. City dwellers collaborate to advance their knowledge, but their progress sometimes sets aside righteous living. Not feeling accountable to anyone, they try to take advantage of the defenseless. Their quest for ever more adventure leads the men of Sodom to abuse their guests. With no antidote for such barbarity God must destroy them completely. Even in our age the sophisticated are prone to rationalize contempt for life. Abortion and now so-called homosexual marriage are outrages that similarly call to heaven for remedy.