Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
Readings: Is 1:10, 16-20; PS 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23; Mt 23:1-12
By the time of the prophet Isaiah, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a well established example of lack of charity, or loveless, as its highest offense. Associating the leadership of Israel with these places is a very high insult.
Second to that was the association of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah to the Valley of Siddim. This place was full of bitumen pits (tar pits).
Tar pits have mutliple perils.
First, one can become stuck in one in as little as 3 – 4 inches of tar.
Second, it is a way of starvation and dehydration or suffocation, depending.
Thirdly, the victim becomes an enticement to those who wish to take advantage of one stuck in the pits and/or a trap for those who wish to rescue those stuck in the pits.
It is a very pitiful situation being stuck in the tar pits (no pun intended).
Abraham successfully, by divine providence, to navigate the enticement and perils of charity in regards to both the kings and to his nephew Lot.
Tar Pit of Sin
Contrary to modern hypersexual sensitivities, the remedy is neither punishment nor attaining sexual purity as the primary or first goals. The first goals is justice and charity in how we treat others.
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.
The chair of Moses
It is the usual description that Moses was the Law Giver having received the Decalogue from the Lord and transmits them to the people. Exodus 18 and Deut 1 as references here.
Moses was also the first Judge. He would adjudicate the conflicts: Whenever they have a disagreement, they come to me to have me settle the matter between them and make known to them God’s statutes and instructions.
Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, advised Moses thusly:
But you should also look among all the people for able and God-fearing men, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them over the people as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
“Listen to complaints among your relatives, and administer true justice to both parties even if one of them is a resident alien.
True Law – True Justice
The law can be likened to the tar pits in certain way.
You can get stuck in them. They become an end unto themselves. They can become an enticement to abuse others. Justice is bruised by dishonest men.
Jesus describes justice in a divine perspective. He frames the Law Giver Moses and Moses the Judge in a new way. Converting his teaching to the positive:
Practice what you preach.
Easy the heavy burdens that people carry that are hard to carry.
Make justice a product of mercy.
Peace be with you,
Footnote: Please always remember that of all the proofs Jesus provided to his teachings they are always indicative of and application of divine mercy. All ethics and morals are birth in the heart of charity, which is love and mercy.
Be merciful as it is mercy we seek.