Second Reading: Romans 5:6-11
How do you prove your friendship to those close to you?
6 Even when we were weak with sin, Christ died at the right time for those who did not know God. 7 After all, it's really hard for a person to die for those who are not right with God. Someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But, God definitely showed us his love when Christ died for us, even while we were still sinners! 9 There is even something more important. Because we are now right with God, we will be saved from his coming judgment. 10 Even when we made ourselves God's enemies, he created a friendship with us through the death of his Son. If this is true, think how much more God will save us with the life of Jesus because we are his friends! 11 On top of that, we can brag about what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ. With Jesus at our side, we are truly close to God!
6 For, as we were still (morally) weak, still CHRIST died at the right time for the irreligious. 7 For someone will die for the unrighteous (only) with difficulty. On behalf of the good perhaps someone will even dare to die. 8 But God established his love for us that, while we were still sinners, CHRIST died for us. 9 So much more, then, having been made righteous, we will be saved from the (coming) wrath. 10 If, being enemies, we were reconciled through the death of his SON, so much more, having been reconciled, we will be saved in his life; 11 not only (that), but also boasting in God through our LORD JESUS CHRIST, through whom we have now received reconciliation (with God).
What makes for close friendships? Shared values, common experiences, a single purpose. Notice the adjectives that denote friendship: "common" and "shared." Friendships make individuals into groups and are the building blocks of society.
What do we share in common with God? If we are truly honest with ourselves, not much. By definition, anything we share with the divine we received at our creation: free will, a limited sense of creative power, intellect, the ability to love. These powers come to play in our moral lives and in our relationships with others. While we as humans are the pinnacle of God's creation, we are not his equal. We are limited by time and space, life and death. What ability we share with God was not only given to us, but is minuscule in comparison.
Alright, we might say we share common values and goals with God. But, we would be diluting ourselves, because we would claim to know the mind of the Almighty. Without revelation, such talk is arrogant, for God is unknowable. In addition, we humans tend to use our abilities to pronounce and exercise values that are contrary to the God made us. In other words, we use what we have for immoral and irreligious purposes. The little that we received from God we use to declare ourselves gods. So, any talk of being God's friends is futile. We are not his equal. And we act in ways that do violence against our very nature.
So, it's it ironic that God reached out to humanity in the person of his Son, Jesus the Christ. In doing so, he revealed his purpose to us with Christ's death and resurrection. God became our equal in the Incarnation. And he offered to raise us beyond our limited nature with eternal life. As St. Iranaeus stated so long ago, "God became man so man might become god." In Jesus, the gulf between Creator and creature has been spanned. Divinity is freely shared with humanity. Revelation and salvation reconcile God and his people together. In other words, God wants us to be his friends and has provided the means to become his intimate companions.
Yes, we are God's friends. He wants us to brag about that friendship. This is the meaning of evangelization. Bragging to others about God's intimate activity in our lives. And inviting those we tell into a friendship that will last forever.
The impossible is possible. With faith, we can call God our "Friend."
How has God made you his friend? How close do you feel to God? How do you treat God as a friend?