Pope John XXIII who died just fifty years ago said, “Some see only calamity and ruin in present society, but we disagree with those prophets of doom” Today’s readings support good Pope John’s message. The first reading tells us that just ten good people can save a city, and the Gospel says they can do it by prayer. Let’s look at that.
In the first reading, God had received word that the city of Sodom was as bad as any place could be. He told Abraham that if those reports were true he would destroy Sodom. Abraham, by pleading with him, got God to say that if there were even ten good men in that wicked city he would not destroy it. Since back then the presence of ten good men could save a wicked city, the Bible story is telling us that is equally true today. The city we live in today, for all its evil, can be saved if God can find ten good men and women here. Any volunteers?
Then, the Gospel tells us that it is by prayer that we can become the kind of people who keep our society from sinking. The kind of prayer that gets things done is prayer that puts us right in the Father’s presence. We needn’t use just the words Jesus suggested. We needn’t say, “Our Father who art in heaven.” What is needed is that we locate ourselves in God’s presence, blocking out everything else.
That done, we can then run our problems past God. Jesus promised that God’s Spirit would lead us to all truth. Significantly, Jesus said that the Spirit would then remind us of things that he, Jesus, had said.
The way that works is that after you have cleared yourself of all other attachments, and you have made your needs known to God, then from your own recollection of the Gospels, the right words of Jesus will pop into your mind to tell you what to do.