It might be good to start with Abraham in our first reading today, Genesis 18.

Rarely do we reflect back on the people of the first covenant.

In fact, it might be really good to learn the lesson they can still teach us today.

God was angry and determined to punish the people because of their sins.

Abraham had so much love for his fellow Jews that he invented the first “bargaining” prayer.

Lord, will you destroy the land if there are 50 good people there.

The Lord said he will not.

What about if there are 45 righteous people only.

The Lord said he will not.

What about 40, 35, 30, 25…?

The Lord settled with Abraham: if there are 10 faithful people,

I will not destroy the land. Alas, the Lord found less than 10.

Abraham knew that God was just.

He must do what was needed to correct the situation of sin.

But in his heart, Abraham knew that there was more to God than this.

God was also merciful to his people.

Abraham tried to find a balance.

“Lord, the good ones you cannot destroy because they did nothing wrong.

But the sinners, why would you destroy them if you can instead transform them?”

Punishment is just right. And in fact, sin itself brings its own punishment to people.

But the sinner, if he is transformed, is not longer an enemy but a friend.

The Lord is above evil and therefore, even if he chooses to punish,

he can always decide to forgive.

One thing was alive in the heart of Abraham.

He was convinced of the mercy of God.

He also had trust in the capacity of people to repent.

If the Lord will destroy all the people because of sin,

Who will continue the Lord’s vision of goodness, peace, justice and love?

If there are some good people still to be found, and if sinners can be forgiven,

Then there will still be seed to make new beginning.

Abraham was preparing us for the time of Jesus.

Because Jesus became human like us, our brother and our friend,

And because he is God’s Only-begotten Son,

Then there is always someone who is good, righteous and sinless among the people.

Jesus is the Father’s answer to our sinfulness.

Through him, there is no destruction but transformation.

He even the took all the punishment we deserved up there on the cross.

Through him, the mercy of God became visible, concrete, experiential.

We now feel it every time we approach the Father in Jesus’ name.

We struggle with sin everyday. We struggle with weakness.

We are sometimes overwhelmed by the evil in our hearts and in our world.

Do not be discouraged. Do not despair.

Be patient with yourself.

Believe that there is hope because Jesus is here to plead for us to the Father.

He is here to take away our sins.

In prayer, in confession, in sacrifice, in good resolutions… we can take our sins to the Lord

And he will fill us with his mercy.

Remember this:

“Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be open to you.”

(pls share to a friend, for the greater glory of God!)