An interesting read for the summer is some delving into the lives of Abram and Lot. Just for the leads on Google for each of these men's names. I surely learned more than I know I learned during my biblical studies during theology days. It was then that most knew nothing about "search engines" such as Google. Only the visionaries were speaking about "websites" and the mystery machine called the "computer" or this far off "place" called the "Internet." That said, I learned, I think, why the liturgists linked these two reading together for today's liturgy.
The story of Uncle Abram and Nephew Lot can be seen as examples or models of the options that Jesus lays out for us in the gospel reading of today: the wide road and the narrow road. Now you might have an inkling about the pictures. But it has more to do with what the reading teaches: choices; thus the title for this posting, "The Choice Is Yours."
When Uncle Abram came to the conclusion that it was time for Nephew Lot to leave, to be out on his own, his generous uncle offered him what seems to have been half of the kingdom. Each of these men had possessions, herds, that seem to be crowding in on each other. Consequently, herdsmen were often in disputes.
In short, Lot decided to take the "wide road," while Uncle Abram took whichever half Lot did not select. Lot, it seems, was a real "city boy." So he took what might be called the wide road. He took the roadway that was called wide because it offered more opportunities...especially for one to fall victim to worshipping false gods. Uncle Abram was not as "citified" as his nephew. He took the second part which was less congested with people and not so many cities. He found that the country life, the narrow roadway, guaranteed him a sure "highway to heaven."
We must point out that Jesus was not condemning the wide way in itself. Rather he called the narrow road more constricted because it would be less liable to failures, to sins, to disputes, etc. Some people can live life in the wide road but they seem to be people who well disciplined, men and women who are able to control some of the urges within us to break away from our God.
So, for Lot it was to leave near the city of Sodom, ultimately moving to the edge of the city and escaping only because and angel of the Lord took him in hand and led him away to a nearby mountain.
Abram settled west of the Dead Sea near the terebinth (a special tree that served as a road map) of Mamre.
So, the gospel story is about choices...really based on what we know about ourselves. Abram seemed to know well himself and Lot thought he knew what was best for himself! Again, Jesus reminds us that our choices are our choices. But don't forget the role of the Holy Spirit in what we choose!