I’ve been blessed to always know deep in my heart that God is real, and that Jesus was a personal friend of mine. He was my best friend as a child when I had no earthly friends. He is my best friend now. Oh, how I wish everyone could feel God’s love and friendship. The world wouldn’t be such a mess if they could!
I do remember, however, a very special moment in time when God’s love became especially real to me. I’ve not been the same since. I want to share that story:
My family attended St. Patrick’s Church on Camp Street weekly during the 1990’s. At that time, the pastor was Monsignor John Reynolds. I loved Father John, as he was unafraid to speak the truth, and made no apologies for it! He would always say, “If you don’t like what I’m saying, don’t tell me. Tell God. This is what God said, not me.” After taking on the restoration of the historic church, Fr. John showed signs of slowing down. At one point, he suffered excruciating pain in his back and could not climb up the steps to the ambo anymore to preach his homilies. He also began forgetting things. On this one particular Sunday, he stood before the congregation, a hunched over shadow of the man that he once was. Stretching out his arms and placing them upon the altar, he braced himself. In the middle of his homily, his brain, (perhaps clouded by the pain) could not retrieve the words that he had prepared and rehearsed. Awkwardly, he tried to regroup his thoughts, but to no avail. Finally, after a few seconds of silence (that seemed like hours) a tear rolled down this seventy- something year old’s face, and he said passionately, “GOD LOVES YOU.” A bit louder and with a broken voice, he repeated, “I want you to know that God loves you…SO MUCH. That’s all.” End of homily. We all sat in awe of what had just happened – stunned, saddened and overjoyed all at the same time. I left church that Sunday knowing with all my heart something that I had often doubted. God does love me immeasurably, and He loves you, too. St. Augustine once said, “God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” Think about that. Let the Truth of that statement settle into your bones. (Taken from The Answer for Families)
In today’s gospel, Jesus says, “I have called you FRIENDS,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…”
We are chosen by Christ to be His friends! How amazing is that! Being His friend means uniting our suffering in this life to His suffering. It means being different from most. It means being rejected sometimes. It means crucifying our self-will. On the flip side of that, we have assurance of His love, His mercy, His guidance, His strength..I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! (Philippians 4:13) We can go out into the world with such confidence with Jesus as our strength. We must not draw back from our appointment by Christ – to “go and bear fruit that will remain.” This world is so thirsty for Him right now, and the world doesn’t even know it. It is so hungry, yet nothing it eats satisfies. We need to be bold witnesses of our Faith – of the Love of Christ that lives in our hearts! We also need to offer every suffering, every prayer for the conversion of souls! Let not one be lost, Dear Lord!