THE WORD BECAME FLESH
Monday of thirteenth Week in Ordinary time, 2021
Memorial of St. Irenaeus
Foxes have holes
Dear friends in Christ, when we talk about the bible, one name that cannot be easily forgotten is St Irenaeus. He was born in Smyrna and emigrated to Lyon in France where he later became bishop. He played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament and determining which were scriptural of the available books, as there were many texts flying around. Before the work done by Irenaeus, it was not strange to find people dispute the status of the available materials on the New Testament. He read every book, giving reasons for and against their inclusion in the Bible. He was reputed to have started the tradition of biblical scholarship. We pray for the same inspiration God gave to this holy man.
Today’s first reading (Genesis 18:16-33) shows the closeness of God with Abraham. God revealed to him the plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham however did everything possible to save these two cities by haggling with God on the number it will take to spare them from destruction. “Are you really going to destroy the just man with the sinner? Perhaps there are fifty just men in the town. Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men in it?” God responded, “If at Sodom I find fifty just men in the town, I will spare the whole place because of them.” Here we see how merciful God is. Abraham however went further, reducing the number gradually till he arrived at ten and God still promised not to destroy it for the sake of ten. How many just ones does it take to save a people? Unfortunately, those cities were doomed for destruction as they could not muster the number negotiated by Abraham. Are you righteous enough to save your nation or city from destruction? Is everyone so much after the things of the world thereby failing to pursue the things that truly endures to eternal life?
In the Gospel (Matthew 8:18-22) Jesus tells the man who offered to follow him, “Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to his head.” That seems very discouraging, but there is no need to build ones followership of Jesus on false hopes. What is commonly called “Gospel of prosperity” today, has no place in the teachings of Jesus. To another who wanted to go and bury his father first, Jesus said, “Follow me and leave the dead to bury their dead.” It is a call to detachment, a call to put God first rather than material things. One who is a true follower of Jesus will not trample the head of the poor or take advantage of others because there is enough in the world to go round.
Let us pray: O Lord, we are sorry for the many and varied ways we have transgressed your laws. Grant us your peace and pardon. Amen.