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DO WE THINK OF GOD AS A FRIEND?

Father Francis's picture
Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ez. 37:1-14 & MT. 22:34-40

The remarkable vision of the dry bones recorded by Ezekiel took place in Babylon where the conquered Israelites were in exile. The people felt that their nation was as good as dead, like the bones of corpses fallen in battle and allowed to rot and dry in the sun. They thought that their situation was hopeless. Is there anything more dead than dry bones?

But in this vision Ezekiel was to offer his people hope. He saw the bones joining together and flesh covering them. God's spirit breathed on those who had died and they came to life again. This passage in is not about the resurrection from the dead but a symbol that Israel will be freed from bondage and restored to freedom.

But this passage easily makes us think of the Christian doctrine of the resurrection. The truth is that God has promised, to those who live the life of faith, that they will be fully restored through the resurrection. We know that we will all die but we also believe that, though we be dead as dry bones, God will raise us, body and soul, to the fullness of life.

In Ezekiel's vision those who had been slain and reduced to bones came alive and stood upright. When we stand to receive Holy Communion we proclaim our faith in the resurrection for Jesus said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and l will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:54.)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind." This great commandment of Jesus can seem intimidating at times. We may think that to love God with everything we are - heart, soul and mind - must require continually performing heroic acts of virtue. But divine love is not about doing.

Our life with God is meant to be a dialogue of love: for example, Scripture describes the relationship between Moses and God as friendship (Ex 33:11). Throughout his life, Moses became ever more intimate with God. We should approach God as our Friend, too, with the boldness of our faith in Jesus' saving death and resurrection. God is our friend. He will nurture and guide us in our relationship with Him each time we meet Him in prayer, Scripture reading and in the liturgy. The more time we spend with God, the more time we want to spend with Him. And as we are with Him, we become more and more accustomed to involving Him, not only in each event of our lives but in every moment of our very existence, our hearts becoming even more open to Him.

Are you happy? Thank God for all the graces He has bestowed on you. Do you encounter obstacles? Ask the Lord how to approach difficult situations. Have your feelings been hurt? Ask Jesus to show you how to forgive those who hurt you and to restore those relationships. Are you in need physically or spiritually? Go to the Divine Physician for healing. Have you sinned? Run into the open arms of your merciful Father in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive His cleansing and new life.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of friendship. Open our hearts to Your passionate love. Help us to come to You every day as a Friend and to want You to be part of each moment of our lives.

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