Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
We Christians have a task before us: to proclaim Christ and not merely with words, as the oft-quoted saying goes. The task in itself is difficult enough but, in today’s readings we are reminded that the world in which we are to evangelize is fraught with danger and challenge.
In the first reading we are told that Lot pitched his tent near Sodom, whose inhabitants “were very wicked in the sins they committed against the Lord,” and we know the rest of the story from there. Doubtless we can all relate perfectly well to Lot, particularly because in today’s world nearly any city could stand in for Sodom; where then are we Christians to “pitch our tent” and make our home? Abram moves elsewhere but thenmakes it a place where he can dwell with God, building an altar at which to pray and sacrifice. We can, like Abram, take our faith with us and literally build God’s kingdom on earth, beginning with our homes. Many families have a tradition of putting aside a small “shrine” area in their homes for devotional statues and the like, for example. Hanging a crucifix or an image of the Sacred Heart on the wall, or placing a statue of Mary in front of our home, etc. are also common practices.
To evangelize, however, is to leave our home; we must walk as well as talk. It is a narrow way, particularly in this world when there is so much hostility toward the Gospel and those who seek to preach and live it. Sometimes we have to have the humility to walk away from those who refuse to listen; especially good advice for those who engage in apologetic discussions. Ultimately, however, here is how we are to evangelize: do for others what you would have them do to you. Even in the shadow of Sodom, we are still called to love which is, as Christ showed us on the Cross, the most effective evangelization of all.