We learn a lot about God in today’s readings. First, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have never had a good reputation, and Abraham tests God to see how far God will go in sparing these places… if there are still innocent people there. Abraham starts with 50 innocent people, then 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally only ten. God does not change and replies that even if there are only 10, they will not be destroyed. What an amazing and merciful God! The Gospel presents us with the Lord’s Prayer and then the famous “ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In the midst of any age and culture that is evil and cruel and heartless, God wants to remind us that we stand for something positive, life giving and selfless because this is how God has been throughout history and remains the same for us.
On Friday, August 2, we Franciscans celebrate a Feast day that is important to us: the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula. This little chapel is regarded as our Franciscan home. Portiuncula, “little portion”, describes the small piece of land that was given to the Benedictines and later St. Francis spent time physically restoring this chapel. He prayed there with his followers; he received St. Clare into his way of life there and it remains a sacred place that Franciscans return to frequently. When you go to Assisi, you will be surprised that this small chapel is surrounded by a large basilica, St. Mary of the Angels. Yes, in the center of this large basilica is the small chapel. When you go there, you cannot help but think of all that has happened in that sacred space over the centuries.
-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.