A major concern of the psalms is who can live in God’s presence. Lot thought he had discovered Paradise and it turned into hell. Likewise, it often seems that the wicked prosper. They cheat, scheme, and do wrong and yet seem to get ahead. On this the psalmist is clear: the one who walks blamelessly and does justice, who actually thinks the truth in his heart, slanders not with his tongue, does no harm, accepts no bribe against the innocent, and basically lives a morally upright life is the one who can live in the presence of God. “He who does these things shall never be disturbed.” The point here is not that things can never go awry but that those who do not pitch their tent near Sodom need not worry about their Paradise turning into hell. God blesses the upright.
The Gospel lesson is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. It includes three sayings of Jesus. The first is that a follower of Jesus must be discerning. I do not believe that Christians should always proclaim the sacred teachings of their faith. There is a time to be silent. We have two dogs and we do not give them pearls to wear. I have been on blogs and discussion settings where no one present seemed to have a sense for what is holy, noble, or true. Do you spend your time expounding the holy mysteries of our faith in that setting? It can be a waste of time and all you receive for it is ridicule and abuse. To use an idea from one of Jesus’ parables: don’t throw the good seed onto rocks. You know the result. Better to look for good soil. There is a time to preach in Sodom and there is a time to just get out of town. Jesus goes on to present the Golden Rule and to explain that there are two gates and two roads. One way is broad and wide and many go down that road. One way is narrow and constricted and only a few find it. The sign over the broad gate says, “This way to Paradise, to Sodom, to joy” but leads to destruction. The sign over the narrow gate says, “Not for the faint of heart” and leads to eternal life.
All is not as it appears to be.
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