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Princes of Sodom, People of Gomorrah

Lenten meditations on Justice and Peace

March 10, Tuesday

Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20, Psalm 50, Matthew 23:1-12

You have to hand it to Isaiah. He really knows how to win friends and influence people

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD, PRINCES OF SODOM!!!!!!!!

Where can you go from there? Right on to --

LISTEN TO THE INSTRUCTION OF OUR GOD, PEOPLE OF GOMORRAH!

This is a reminder that the first crime of Sodom and Gomorrah was not barbaric sex, but rather oppression of the poor by the rich (see Ezekial 16:49-50: "And look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in their prosperity, and they gave no help to the poor and needy. Rather, they became haughty and committed abominable crimes in my presence; then, as you have seen, I removed them.").

PUT AWAY YOUR MISDEEDS! CEASE DOING EVIL! LEARN TO DO GOOD! MAKE JUSTICE YOUR AIM! REDRESS THE WRONGED! HEAR THE ORPHAN'S PLEA! DEFEND THE WIDOW!

Remember that "widow" in this context refers to any woman with children, but without a husband (not necessarily one without a husband because he is deceased). And remember that "orphan" refers to any child without a father. The Lord, through Isaiah, is talking about single mothers with children. Hmmm, what can this mean for us today?

Jesus tells us that the greatest among us must be the servant of all. He warns of the dangers of religious and political hypocrisy -- of the tendency of those who rule to do so unrighteously. "They preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them." Who do you suppose these words can be applied to today? Shall we point fingers or look in mirrors? Where are Sodom and Gomorrah today? At the bottom of the Dead Sea or right up the street at City Hall?

Prayer intentions today:

+ For all religious and political hypocrites, that they will come to an understanding of their situation and repent.

+ For all who exercise authority, that they will do so justly.

Praxis today:

+ Pray for discernment regarding those lists you are making, of personal virtues and sins, poor people and social issues. Remember, you are looking for connections, relationships, correspondences.

+ Be open to requests for help from the "widows and orphans" of our own day. Look for an opportunity to be of assistance.

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