27 June 2023 – Tuesday of Week 12

27 June 2023 – Tuesday of Week 12

Optional Memorial: St Cyril of Alexandria, c 376-444, bishop and doctor of the church. Fought against Nestorianism at the Council of Ephesus, which proclaimed Mary teh Mother of God.

1st Reading: Genesis 13:2, 5-18

The herdsmen of Abram and Lot quarrel, and the two groups go their separate ways

Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram’s livestock and the herders of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward; thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”

So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Responsorial: Psalm 14:2-5

Response: The just will live in the presence of the Lord.

Lord, who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
He who walks without fault;
he who acts with justice and speaks the truth from his heart;
he who does not slander with his tongue. (R./)

He who does no wrong to his brother,
who casts no slur on his neighbour,
who holds the godless in disdain,
but honours those who fear the Lord.

He who keeps his pledge, come what may;
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm for ever. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Various warnings, towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.”

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it; but the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”


Coping with Success

People often flourish better while working hard on a meaningful project, than if they had too much leisure and too little to do. People who work hard in developing a business, a farm, or a family inheritance, can enjoy more sense of achievement than the next generation who simply receive the profit of their parents’ work on a golden platter. We tend to make our worst mistakes when we have the money and the leisure to do so, and even family members turn against each other in the flush of prosperity.

Abram’s story  shows a way out of this impasse. His first goal was not wealth, prestige, honour or security, but peace. Amiably he says to Lot, “Let there be no strife between your herdsmen and mine, for we are relatives.” With dignity and love and a strong sense of family, he makes the gracious offer: “If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.” Abram shows flexibility and good judgment, an approach that illustrates the advice of Jesus, not to toss your pearls before swine, or to follow the wide and easy way to a meaningless existence.

Through the narrow gate

The images of the narrow gate and the hard road suggest that discipleship can be a challenging path to follow. While one can saunter through a wide gate without a second thought, to get through a narrow gate we must concentrate and focus our attention. It takes commitment to get through such a narrow gap. Being a true follower of Jesus requires all of our goodwill.

The word “narrow” is generally pejorative. We like to think of ourselves as broad-minded. No one wants to be considered narrow-minded. But the gospel calls for a certain narrowing of focus in following Christ, excluding some pathways that are easy and well trodden. Saying “yes” to Christ’s way requires saying “no” to selfish ways. But any “narrowing down” and self-denial in the following of Jesus ultimately leads to a great expansiveness, a full sharing of God’s life. What lies beyond the narrow gate has a length, breath, width and depth which surpasses knowledge.

One Comment

  1. Sean O’Conaill says:

    Isn’t the narrow door the door that Jesus himself chose – the door of integrity, of calling out the shortcomings of the ecclesiastical structures of his time – which distanced the poorest from the experience of God’s mercy?

    And isn’t the dwindling clerical church of today the church that idolised obedience above conscientious integrity – allowing no access to that narrow door via open structures of expression, and penalising and ostracising those who spoke out?

    Without integrity – with no bishop anywhere speaking out against the greatest enemy within (the abuse of power) – that church has evaporated into a diaspora.

    Until the narrow door has been reconstructed in the church – the recognition of the primacy of individual conscience, the bedrock of the prophetic tradition – there can be no recovery.

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