25 June 2019
Genesis 13:2, 5-18
Abram was a very rich man, with livestock, silver and gold. Lot, who was travelling with Abram, had flocks and cattle of his own, and tents too. The land was not sufficient to accommodate them both at once, for they had too many possessions to be able to live together. Dispute broke out between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and those of Lot’s. (The Canaanites and the Perizzites were then living in the land.) Accordingly Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no dispute between me and you, nor between my herdsmen and yours, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land open before you? Part company with me: if you take the left, I will go right; if you take the right, I will go left.’
Looking round, Lot saw all the Jordan plain, irrigated everywhere – this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – like the garden of the Lord or the land of Egypt, as far as Zoar. So Lot chose all the Jordan plain for himself and moved off eastwards. Thus they parted company: Abram settled in the land of Canaan; Lot settled among the towns of the plain, pitching his tents on the outskirts of Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were vicious men, great sinners against the Lord.
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted company with him, ‘Look all round from where you are towards the north and the south, towards the east and the west. All the land within sight I will give to you and your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants like the dust on the ground: when men succeed in counting the specks of dust on the ground, then they will be able to count your descendants! Come, travel through the length and breadth of the land, for I mean to give it to you.’
So Abram went with his tents to settle at the Oak of Mamre, at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.
‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’
So always treat others as you would like them to treat you
I remember some time ago, seeing a video on YouTube showing someone teaching teenagers how to deal with bullying. In the first part, the instructor squared off against his bully, choosing to respond to each of his insults with an equally forceful retaliation. Needless to say, the exchange escalated quickly.
In the second part, the instructor again stood up against his bully. This time, however, instead of reacting angrily to his taunts, the instructor simply smiled and agreed with the comments. Despite the bully’s best efforts to sustain his attacks, he did not know how to keep up the aggression.
This is the type of relationship and interaction I imagine when I read the Gospel of today. If we were to treat each other as we want to be treated, the world within our control would be a substantially better world. We see this clearly in the first reading, in the interactions between Lot and Abram. By choosing not to quibble over who is entitled to what, Abram soothed over what could have been a potentially explosive encounter.
As a Christian, I pray that I may always be able to keep this in mind and learn to put my self-interest and ego aside. May we always be filled with love and compassion for one another!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father God, help us keep in mind that everything we have comes from You and that everything we do, should always be to serve only You.
Thanksgiving: We are grateful, Father, for everything that You have gifted us.