June 27 - Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

It is possible to completely misread the episode of Abraham speaking to the Lord. If we forget that the Lord is God, it seems as if Abraham is teaching him to be merciful, but the Lord is God, so that idea is just ludicrous. Abraham was created by the Lord. His concepts of justice and mercy were put inside of him by the Lord. The Lord invented justice and mercy.

This misunderstanding goes beyond this one episode of Abraham and the Lord. Many people seem to think that they are more just, more merciful than the Lord, the God of the whole universe. “If I were God,” they say, “there wouldn’t be any more suffering. No floods. No earthquakes. No diseases.” They say this as if they have thought of something that God did not.

Their first mistake is in their first few words: “If I were God”, as if the difference between me and God is like the difference between me and the President. If they began by saying, “If I were the number 3” or “If I were the Solar System”, they would be more reasonable.

Their second mistake is considering unlimited power separated from unlimited knowledge and unlimited love. The Lord knows everything, and the Lord is kind and merciful. He does not make mistakes. He is not stumbling through history, trying different things. If I were God, I would do exactly what he is doing, because I would realize what I cannot see now: that it is exactly the perfect thing to do.

So what is going on in our first reading? Abraham is not teaching God; God is teaching Abraham. Abraham is never going to completely understand what God is doing, just like we will never completely understand what God is doing, but in that conversation Abraham learned what Jesus told us later: he lets the weeds and the wheat grow up together, lest the wheat be uprooted when pulling out the weeds.

As we consider the history of the world, we mostly see a disaster, but we also see, sprinkled throughout, a few righteous people, the saints. If God had destroyed the world in the year 1000, there would be no St. Thomas Aquinas. If he had destroyed the world in the year 1500, there would be no St. Therese. If he had destroyed the world in the year 1900, there would be no Blessed Mother Theresa. There also would be no us. At some point he will destroy the world. It will be the end of world history, and the beginning of new world history. Are you one of the reasons he waited this long before destroying the world? Are you one of the ten righteous in all of Sodom?