“Let there be no strife between you and me, for we are kinsmen.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 13:2.5-18)
Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelt in the land. Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley 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 destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, while Lot dwelt among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD. The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Arise, 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 dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 15:2-3a.3bc-4ab.5 (R. 1 a)
R/. Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Whoever walks without fault;
who does what is just,
and speaks the truth from his heart.
Who does not slander with his tongue. R.
Who does no wrong to a neighbour,
who casts no slur on a friend,
who looks with scorn on the wicked,
but honours those who fear the Lord. R.
Who lends no money at interest,
and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a one shall never be shaken. R.
ALLELUIA John 8:12
Alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia.
“Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 7:6. 12-14)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
No one wants to be considered narrow; we like to think of ourselves as broad-minded and inclusive in our approach to life. However, the Gospel reading this morning suggests that in following the lord a certain narrowness of focus is called for. Saying ‘Yes’ to the Lord’s way requires our saying ‘no’ to a lot of other ways. Jesus reassures us that this narrowing down in following him ultimately leads to a great expansiveness, the great expanse of eternal life. The gate may be narrow but, if we faithfully try to enter through it, it leads us to abundance of life.