17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We have to admire Abraham’s boldness in today’s reading. How do you bargain with God? Abraham’s audacity is a marvel as he confidently sets out to bargain with God for the fate of Sodom.
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Abraham’s concern is that the Lord will “sweep away the innocent with the guilty.” In his persistent bargaining Abraham seeks to “wear down” the Lord, to find some reassurance that God will act justly in the end. Imagine that: humankind is concerned that God will act justly!
Reading ahead in the book of Genesis, we know that Sodom was destroyed. Did the Lord renege on the promise to Abraham? Not really. A few people were led out of the city before its demise. Sodom was not saved, but the Lord took care of those faithful to him.
In all of God’s dealings with humankind the results of our prayerful (and sometimes not so prayerful) “bargaining” may not be what we expect. But the Lord always finds a way. And the real point of this passage is that the Lord’s mercy is available for all. We have only to ask and sometimes with the persistence of Abraham.
Let us all be the bold friend of God that Abraham was and confidently approach the deep well of the Lord’s endless mercy.
The author, Ms. Barbara Gawle, leads Bible studies at her parish, Incarnation Church of Wethersfield, CT. She is a CBS graduate and the 2012 recipient of the Biblical School's highest award, The Lawrence Boadt Memorial Medal.