|Blessed Junipero Serra|
In today's first reading from the Book of Genesis we hear the Lord's musing to Himself, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" Indeed, Abraham enjoyed a most wonderful status, a grace unearned but generously accepted; he was "the friend of God":
- Was it not you, our God, who dispossessed the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham, your friend? (2 Chronicles 20:7)
- But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham my friend— Isaiah 41: 8
- Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called “the friend of God.” James 2:23
- After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ John 11:11
- No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
- You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. John 15:12-15
|The old basketball court at Mt St Francis|
I believe it was Saint Augustine who said, "Prayer and friendship need no justification." It is an unearned gift. The Lord shows his care for nearly everyone by arranging that human beings meet and befriend one another. I've met some down-and-out fellows who seemed utterly without charm, and discovered they have loyal, caring friends. One fellow told me the best friends he ever knew were in prison.
If human beings among themselves are so adept at friendship, we should not be surprised that some men and women are friends of God. Friends can share one another's secrets and respect one another's privacy. Often it's the latter ability that seals the friendship; I am grateful that my friend does not pry into those areas of which I prefer not to speak. A friend, unlike a spouse, parent or child, does not need to know; he only welcomes what I choose to share.
Abraham proved himself worthy of God's confidence when he negotiated for the deliverance of Sodom and Gomorrah His real concern, apparently, was his nephew Lot but, for whatever reason, he did not come out and say that. The Lord, knowing his unexpressed concern, rushed Lot and his family out of town before it erupted in flames. Their friendship would deepen immeasurably when God tested Abraham on Mount Moriah with the sacrifice of Isaac.
|A sparrow darts from hiding.|
As a Church we enjoy the deepest possible friendship with God; it is often compared to marriage. As individuals each of us is invited by our Baptism to "know, love and serve him in this world, and be with him in the next." The invitation is there for those who will accept it.