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God the Friend, God the Father
Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. 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?”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I know that you listen to me, I know that you love me, and that you will always provide for me exactly what I need. I trust in you; help me to trust you more.
- A True Friend: Ask anyone what they look for in a friend, and more likely than not they will say, “someone I can count on,” or “someone I can trust.” While we are able to trust our friends with our material goods, or to pick us up from the airport, we might fear what they would say if they saw the hidden, perhaps less flattering side of us. And, there are still things in our lives that we are afraid to entrust to anyone, especially things deep within us—hopes, fears, desires, conflicts, etc. Jesus wants to befriend us—all that is good in us, all that is hidden, and all of our weaknesses. No matter what we ask of him, no matter what we reveal, he will listen and help. He is completely trustworthy.
- The Ultimate Dad: Jesus has revealed to us that God the Father is the ultimate father. Or perhaps it is even better to say the ultimate Dad. If even human dads, who are clearly imperfect, are capable of true sacrifice, even heroic sacrifices out of love for their children, just how much more does God the Father, God the Dad, love us? He loves us so much that he has promised the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. The Holy Spirit bears gifts and fruits that are essential to our spiritual well-being. God knows that, no matter what circumstances we face, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are our remedy!
- Learning to Trust: It’s beautiful to think about God the Friend and God the Father, but it does not always seem like he hears us when we ask, seek, or knock. We pray for peace, and the family keeps bickering. We pray for patience, and turn around and lose our temper. We pray for a cure, but our loved ones don’t get better. Of course, we all know the intellectual answers deep in our hearts—that God knows what’s best for us, that God speaks through circumstances, that God’s time is not our time—but we continue to suffer. Evil–sickness and suffering–is a mystery. Our lives may feel scary or even hopeless at times, but Christ remains the light of the world, and the darkness cannot overcome him. Our faith, which is exercised in times of trial, tells us that God is truly a friend and truly a Father—let’s pray for the grace to trust him as a true friend, to love him as a Father.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I trust in you. You are my friend. Thank you for this time of prayer, for working in my heart, although perhaps I am not always able to feel it. Give me the grace of persistence and patience as I endure the large and small trials in my daily life. I want to glorify you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will offer up some little sacrifice that you present to me, and reflect on how it is a gift from you.
For Further Reflection: John Eldredge and his wife Stasi have written several books for men and women, particularly on our relationship with God: Fathered by God and Captivating.
Written by Brother Riley Connors.