Genesis 13: 2, 5-18
Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram’s livestock and the herders of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.
Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan 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 had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward; thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, 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 settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Psalm 15: 2-5
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved.
Matthew 7: 6, 12-14
“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Today we read about the difficulty of entering through the narrow gate. In the first reading, Lot chooses the side of land most likely to be fruitful. He chooses the land well watered even though it is next to the land of great sinners against the Lord. Abram, though, does not take the choice land and does not move his tent close to those who are displeasing to the Lord. It is easy to choose worldly success. No one will get in your way and as the gospel says, the road is easy.
The world rewards those who seek power and success on the world’s terms. All one has to do is compromise their values and relationship with the Lord to achieve it. From the perspective from the world, Lot’s decision makes sense. Who would not choose the most fruitful land? From the perspective of one following the Lord, though, one who fears the Lord would not risk displeasing Him. In the eyes of the Lord, riches and success and power mean nothing. Much more valuable to the Lord is one who is humble and fears Him. Like the psalm declares, Abram stood by his oath to Lot to his detriment, or hurt. Yet, the Lord rewarded his faithfulness to his word and to God by blessing him and increasing him.
While the ideas of success by the world’s terms may seem smart and important, it is far more valuable to be successful in the Lord’s eyes. The way to success with the Lord is through fear of the Lord and choosing to obey His commands, walk blamelessly, never slander, speak the truth, and never commit crimes against the innocent.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for your faithfulness. Help me to remain in your love and grant me the grace and strength to always choose to do right and good over evil. May I be able to walk through the narrow gate of righteousness and not be tempted by the world. Amen.