|Photo by Sr Mary Lou Winters, FSP.|
Younger and brash, Lot sets his heart on the well-watered gardens of the Jordan Plain, near prosperous Sodom. Abraham (still called Abram at this point) watches him go and then moves his camp westward.
This is where I see "Laudato Si." God had not yet given the land to Abraham; it was still in the realm of promise. Abraham treated it as a "common home," not as his to exploit (as if that was even possible in those pre-industrial times). As the elder, Abraham could have assigned Lot his, well, lot. That would have introduced into the family the kind of rivalries that were already taking place at the level of the shepherds, and the civilization that would have sprung from those roots would have been poisoned from the start with suspicions, accusations, deceit, grasping, coveting...
But Abraham acted as someone who knew that his inheritance from the Lord was secure; he did not have to seize the best land for himself or strategize how to get and keep it. The God who had brought him from Haran was the Lord, the maker and owner of it all, and he who had made the promises was worthy of trust. Abraham did not grasp at what God gives. He did not act as a proprietor, but as a visitor (aren't we all?), "looking forward to the city with foundations whose designer and builder is God" (cf. Heb. 11:9-10).
I think this attitude is a good one with which to read the new encyclical "On Care for Our Common Home": to let Pope Francis show us the whole land, belonging not to the tribes that presently inhabit it, or mine it, or rule it, but belonging to God and entrusted to everyone.
Do you have the faith of Abraham?