Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Ronald E. Heine; Origen | Go to book overview

HOMILY V
On Lot And His Daughters

WHEN THE ANGELS WHO WERE SENT to destroy Sodom desired to expedite the task with which they were charged, they first had concern for their host, Lot, that, in consideration of his hospitality, they might deliver him from the destruction of the imminent fire.

Hear these words, you who close your houses to strangers; hear these words, you who avoid a guest as an enemy. Lot was living in Sodom. We do not read of other good deeds of his. The hospitality alone occurring at that time is mentioned. He escapes the flames, he escapes the conflagration for this reason alone: because he opened his house to strangers. Angels entered the hospitable house; fire entered the houses closed to strangers.

Let us therefore, see what the angels say to their host on account of his services of hospitality. "Save your life in the mountain," the text says, "lest perchance you be included."1 Lot was indeed hospitable. And, as the Scripture has borne testimony to him, he was hidden from destruction when the angels had been hospitably received.2 But he was not so perfect that, immediately on departing from Sodom, he could ascend the mountain; for it belongs to the perfect to say: "I have lifted up my eyes to the mountains, whence help shall come to me."3 He, therefore, was neither such that he should perish among the inhabitants of Sodom, nor was he so great that he could dwell with Abraham in the heights. For if he had been such, Abraham would never have said to him: "If you go to the right, I will go to the left, or if you go to the left I will go to the right,"4

____________________
1
Gn 19.17.
2
Cf. Heb 13.2.
3
Ps 120.1.
4
Gn 13.9.

-112-

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