Blessed Junípero Serra, Priest
Genesis 18:16-33;Psalm 103:1-4, 8-11; Matthew 8:18-22
“For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:32)
In 1875, sailors aboard the HMS Challenger first measured the depths of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. The reported depth was over five miles. Although it was the deepest recording at the time, modern sonar has since discovered a nearby spot measuring almost seven miles deep. It’s named the Challenger Deep after the courageous sailors who first plumbed its depths.
As you read today’s passage from Genesis, you’ll notice Abraham testing the extreme depths of another ocean—the ocean of God’s mercy. Most of this story is a conversation between the Lord and Abraham about the fate of the city of Sodom, whose citizens had committed many terrible crimes. But Abraham, troubled that innocents might suffer the fate of the guilty, made many appeals for mercy. Again and again, God agreed to spare the city if as few as only ten noble citizens could be found.
That’s incredibly merciful, considering that God was fully aware of the many sins of Sodom—a city of thousands! Ultimately, though, not even ten innocent people could be found. Still, out of mercy, God spared Lot and his family from destruction.
This story tells us that for those who turn their backs on God there is eventually a limit to his extreme mercy. But for those who turn to him, his mercy is unfathomable. Imagine a vast ocean with constant waves that wash away your sins as soon as you wade into its waters. This is how your heavenly Father treats you the moment you turn to him and confess your sins.
So don’t delay. If you have any need at all, run to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Turn to the Lord and dive into his ocean of mercy! Search out the depths and heights of his tenderness and compassion. It’s a love that none of us deserves—but that he delights to give to us anyway!
“Thank you, Father, for your unbounded mercy! May your waves of love wash over me, cleansing my conscience and healing my wounded, sinful heart.”~wau