Fr. Michael's Thoughts on Biblical Imagery: The Defense Attorney

FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY

(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)

THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY

            Who will speak for the accused? Many people have been wrongfully accused. There has been recent reports of people who have released from prison after spending decades behind bars. Their release was due to new evidence that vindicated them and prove them innocent. But how many innocent people are still behind bars? The sad thing is that there is no one to take pro bono cases and serve as their defense attorneys. I have said it here before and I want to repeat it. Please our good lawyers, can you take some pro bono cases and defend the defenseless? I make this appeal because of the first reading given to us for our reflection.

            Last week we read of the kindness of Abraham that earned him a blessing of a gift of a child. This week we read of Abraham as the defense attorney. All the inhabitants of the city of Sodom were about to be condemned to death by burning because of the sinful ways of many people in that city. When Abraham got wind of it, he took their case and bargained for fair justice. Abraham’s argument that day was simple. According to him, it may be fair to destroy the evil doers of the city of Sodom but it would be unfair for the righteous to be destroyed because of other evil doers. Inferring from Abraham’s argument, divine justice may be better served when because of the righteous the city is spared.

            That day Abraham displayed his legal bargaining skills that we have come to know of some celebrated lawyers. From the legal perspective, I would like to beg our lawyers to learn from Abraham and speak for the defenseless. There are many people crying out in prisons because they have been wrongfully sentenced. We cannot continue to keep the righteous with the evil doers in our jails. No lawyer should see him or herself as the alpha and omega of his/her legal prowess; God is the alpha and omega of one’s legal brains and so one is encouraged to use them for the glorification of God and to the defense of the defenseless.

            The first reading mainly carries strong spiritual nuances. Do you have anybody bargaining for you? We do not know what may have kept us alive all these years in the midst of sin. If really the inspired writer got his facts right about the sinful ways of some of the inhabitants of the city of Sodom that angered God to destroy them with fire; then probably some heavenly agents may be interceding for his world else we may have been destroyed long time ago. Come to think of it, what some people are doing today in the 21st century maybe far worse than the sinful ways of the inhabitants of Sodom. We may be alive and not destroyed yet, because Jesus and Mary are interceding for this world and buying us time.

            Time does not wait for anyone and so we should use every life moment given to us to work out our salvation because it was Jesus himself who said: this generation if they do not repent will be punished more than Sodom because if the inhabitants of Sodom had had the experience and knowledge of Jesus they may had converted. Time waits for no one, so as the saints bargain for us to be given more time, let us make the time given unto us count.

            In the first reading we are told that the Angels of God were on their way to the city of Sodom to destroy the city because of the citizens’ wayward living. Abraham happened to be at the right place at the right time when he sighted the Angels and made enquiries of their mission. When Abraham got to know of their mission, he started bargaining for righteous lives in that city. Abraham may have thought that justice may not be served if the righteous perish because of the waywardness of the unrighteous. Abraham used the bargaining method of using the holy lives of the righteous to save the whole city. The agreement was reached between Abraham and the Angels on condition that if ten righteous men were found in the city of Sodom, they would be spared.

            Whenever I reflect on this biblical text, I am encouraged to pray for family and friends who maybe are in purgatory who need me to prayerfully bargain for them so that God may shorten their days/years in purgatory and allow them entry into heaven. Your family members and friends who have passed on need you to pray for them. Like Abraham this is the time that you need to bargain to save lives. When we talk of the bargaining power of prayer, we do not direct our prayers only for those in purgatory but also the living among us. We know some friends and family members who need our prayers.

            We need to trust the power of bargaining through prayer because in today’s gospel account Jesus said: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

            Some people and souls are relying on your prayerful bargaining power. Let us pray for our world because things are not right. If the agreement of the Angels and Abraham is something to go by then we need righteous people to keep us safe in this sinful world. OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP PRAY FOR US.

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