Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 18:16-33; Matthew 8:18-22)
Americans are fond of telling their children that George Washington never lied. Historians will verify the first president’s exceptionally virtuous character. The story not only speaks well of the country; it also provides a model for children to follow. The first reading gives a similar testimony to Abraham’s character.
The passage begins with God contemplating whether to share with Abraham his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. It suggests that Abraham should know God’s ways so that he might instruct his people wisely. Hearing of God’s plan, Abraham shows what kind of person he is. He plaintively asks God to reconsider destruction if there could be found a significant number of honest people. Like God, Abraham has a compassionate heart that does not want to see people suffer unnecessarily.
God calls all of us to compassion. Like Abraham we should pray for those who seem destined to suffer. People diagnosed with cancer, for example, should be remembered in our prayers. Like God we should try to minimize suffering as much as possible. Since people who are sick often seek consolation, we should be ready to give them our support.