Boldness is not usually appreciated – it is sometimes judged as a display of arrogance, the attitude of someone aggressive. But boldness is also recognised in someone courageous, daring, fearless.
In the first reading of this Sunday (17th Sunday, Year C – Gn.18:2-32), we meet someone surprisingly bold!
This text shows us Abraham being bold not with a fellow human being but with God!
He acknowledges this himself, saying: “I am bold indeed to speak like this.”
Abraham having heard of God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, he does not hesitate to advise God: “Do not think of doing such a thing!” And he repeats: “Do not think of it!”
Yet, far from correcting himself, he keeps on literally bargaining with God! And, amazingly, God goes along with this! Not once, not twice but six times, Abraham will repeat his plea and make God lower the number of people needed for the cities to be spared the destruction intended by God.
The most astonishing in the narrative is the way God interacts with Abraham – it is obvious that he appreciates the boldness of his human ‘partner’. Who would imagine a god sharing with human beings his plan about a divine intervention?! This implies that Abraham is God’s friend and he relates to him with complete trust as close friends can do – a trust that is daring, audacious in its boldness.
It is as if Abraham had found God’s ‘weakness’, and God’s ‘weakness’ is his mercy! He is indeed a merciful God – a God who delights in the boldness of his friends.