02Jul 02 July. Tuesday of Week 13

1st Reading: Genesis 19:15-29

Before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, God saved Lot and his family

When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters away from here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city. When they had brought them outside, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, or else you will be consumed.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; your servant has found favour with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there–is it not a little one?–an my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favour too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the Plain and saw the smoke of the land going up like the smoke of a furnace. So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew he cities in which Lot had settled.

Responsorial: Psalm 25:2-3, 9-12

Response: O Lord, your kindness is before my eyes.

Examine me, Lord, and try me;
O test my heart and my mind,
for your love is before my eyes
and I walk according to your truth. (R./)

Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men
in whose hands are evil plots,
whose right hands are filled with gold. (R./)

As for me, I walk the path of perfection.
Redeem me and show me your mercy.
My foot stands on level ground:
I will bless the Lord in the assembly. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus calms the storm on the lake; the apostles see him in a new light

When Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”


Without hesitation

It took a great deal of persuasion to get Lot to do what was needed, to save himself and his family. But his uncle Abraham had prayed earnestly for him, so Lot’s family were led to safety by an angel. If people cannot turn aside from serious temptation, not even the prayer of someone like Abraham can save them. If facing some impending disaster, we need not be passive victims but can be saved by an energetic response, trusting in God. Lot’s hesitation almost costs him and his family their lives. They had to be dragged out of the sinful city of Sodom, and led to safety. But later, Lot’s wife looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt. This legend probably comes from the strange, columns of salt that could once be seen at the southwestern edge of the Dead Sea. Such a column resembled a woman gazing perpetually on the desolate expanse of this salty sea.

Our faith in divine providence can help us survive crises and disturbances and not be swept into utter panic. In the Gospel, the storm continued to rage, even after the disciples stirred up Jesus from sleep. He wanted to know, “Where is your courage?” Only then did he bring them back to a calm state of mind. Whoever cries out from the heart to Christ our Saviour–whatever the situation– can find new assurance from his presence, and inner peace.

Coping with crisis

This storm on the Sea of Galilee was sudden and unexpected… Sometimes our personal circumstances can change without warning. We can suddenly find ourselves in the midst of some overwhelming crisis. If yesterday all seemed well, but today we are in crisis, this gospel has a vital message for us.

Matthew’s account of the storm links it more closely to his church experience than Mark’s original version of that story. The shouted prayer of the disciples, “Save us, Lord, we are going down” echoed the needs of St Matthew’s readers. It is the cry of us all at some time in our lives. The message is that the Lord is near. Our desperate prayers for help will not go unanswered. The Lord is stronger than any storm that may threaten us, and in calling out “Lord, save us!” we will not be left without help.

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