SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
The readings from this reflection: Gn 18:20-32; Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8; Col 2:12-14; Lk 11:1-13
We read in Genesis of God growing tired of wickedness and the poor choices being made by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, Abraham repeatedly intercedes on their behalf, asking God to look for goodness in the city. Abraham goes so far as to ask, “What if there are at least 10 there?” We see through the conversation that he searches for the slightest sign of goodness within Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham is persistently looking for a bright spot where, at first glance, there is only darkness.
We need that reminder to look for the good in everyone we meet. Sometimes, it can feel like there is nothing but darkness, and everyone is only looking out for themselves. Yet, there is also an invitation to see with the eyes of Abraham. He displays such hope and dedication for the people of God. That is a quality we can incorporate into our own lives. Persistence will always give way to the discovery of light and goodness. After all, light cannot hide in the dark for very long. There is goodness in each of us, so we ought to search confidently for it in those we meet.
There is no person or place beyond the redeeming power of God. We must be careful never to write anyone off or ignore an opportunity to bring God’s peace to the world. Offering encouragement and calling attention to goodness in our world can move people in the right direction. Show them that God brightens our world in a multitude of ways. That mindset of positivity makes a difference, especially for those struggling to see it. Many who are in our churches, or have left our churches, feel inadequate or unwelcome. Those lies make it hard to see the light. What are we to do? If we are to bear witness to God’s loving heart and desire for reconciliation, we must go beyond our comfort zone. We must diligently search for goodness and affirm in it those we meet, even when not immediately visible. Guiding others toward goodness is an important act of charity.
Politics and culture wars teach us to harbor disdain for others, especially those with whom we disagree, but Christ taught us to love and care for one another. We are all created in the image of God and supported by his grace, so positivity should empower us beyond any cynicism.
Persistently strive to be a beacon of God’s hope and optimism wherever you are. A life of faith characterized by joy is one of the most outstanding witnesses to God’s presence in our world today.
Zummo is serving in parish ministry in St. Francis de Sales Parish, Lebanon, and in the seasonal Sportman’s Chapel at Bennett Springs, MO.