The Friends of God.
The Twenty-Second Friday of Ordinary Time.
Lessons from the primary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Colossians 1: 15-20.
• Psalm 100: 1-5.
• Luke 5: 33-39.
The Twelfth Friday after Pentecost.
Lessons from the dominica,* according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• II Corinthians 3: 4-9.
• Psalm 33: 2-3.
• Luke 10: 23-37.
4:46 PM 9/6/2019 — This conversation our Lord has with the Scribes and Pharisees, as recounted for us by the good Saint Luke, occurs right after the banquet which Levi—later known as Matthew—offered our Lord and his friends on the occasion of his calling. We’ve looked at that dinner party once before: how Matthew was so overcome with the idea that a thieving tax collector like him would be invited to join our Lord’s company, and how, even at the time of his calling, his conversion was not yet complete, as evidenced by the fact that he thought our Lord wanted a dinner party. But our Lord went anyway, because He was willing to meet Matthew where he was at; He was not willing to leave him where he was at, as we know, but He was willing to initially meet him there, as He is for us.
And here He’s challenged by those too interested in esoteric matters, those who like to hide their insecurities behind minute details that don’t, in the long run, mean anything, such as why our Lord and His disciples aren’t practicing the same kind of asceticism that John and his disciples practiced. Our Lord’s response is another reference to a wedding—He seems to like the image of a wedding—always referring to Himself as a bridegroom and we, His Church, as His bride. One day, open up the First Book of Maccabees: the “friends of the bridegroom” held an important social office in Jewish society (I Mac. 9: 39); their job was to stand by the bridegroom throughout the whole process of preparing and submitting to the marriage ceremony, not just to join in his rejoicing but to do his will and take care of things for him. When our Lord refers to His disciples as His friends, He clearly has this in mind, and He offers Himself as an example of genuine and unreserved friendship. As Saint Bernard put it so well:
…at that moment He allowed all the tenderness of His Heart to escape; He opened His soul completely and from it there arose a most fragrant perfume, the perfume of a beautiful soul of a generous and noble Heart (Sermon on the Canticle of Canticles, 31, 7).
Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, used to begin many of his homilies with the words, “Dear friends of God…,” and, in fact, there is a collection of his homilies available which is entitled Friends of God, which I would recommend to you.
Let’s resolve today to be the friends of God. Just like the bridegroom gives money to his friends to go out and prepare all the little details for the wedding, so God gives us His Grace in this Holy Sacrifice and in a thousand other ways to go out and take care of all the duties our state in life requires, for the fulfillment of our daily tasks, and to help us overcome all the spiritual difficulties our daily life throws at us.
* In the extraordinary form, on ferias outside privileged seasons, the lessons from the previous Sunday are repeated.