26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

OPTION 1: I received this text message from a friend of mine that there is a nervous Filipino who took his first international plane ride.  After dinner, the stewardess approached his seat and asked him: “Are you DONE, sir?” The Pinoy answered: “No, I’m Jun.”

The stewardess asked again: “I mean are you FINISHED?” the Pinoy answered: “No, I’m a Filipino.” The stewardess said again: “What I am asking is, whether you’re THROUGH.” The Pinoy answered back: “Why, what do you think of me, False?”

Today’s gospel talks about our friendship with God specifically on honesty that is, being true, particularly in what we say and do. There is so much falseness, deceit, pretense, and ‘double meaning’ in our world today.  I think you are very much familiar with the song Honesty by Billy Joel that says: “if you search for tenderness it isn’t hard to find. You can have the love you need to live. But if you look for truthfulness you might just as well be blind. It always seems to be hard to give. Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard and mostly what I need from you.” We must continue to stand for what is true, what is honest and what is clear because this is one way we can develop our friendship with God and follow Christ faithfully.

In the Chapter 12 of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, which was sub-titled as, Developing Your Friendship with God, it is said that like any friendship we must work at developing our friendship with God. That if we want a deeper, more intimate connection with God we must learn to honestly share our feelings with Him, trust Him when he ask us to do something, learn to care about what he cares about and desire His friendship more than anything else. In other words, we have, like Jesus, said yes to God and put into action what we said. Warren gave at least four ways on how to develop our friendship with God.

First, we must choose to be honest with God. God does not expect to be perfect, but he does insist on complete honesty. If we look at the Bible, friends of God were not perfect. Like for example, Abraham. Abraham was honest with his feelings. He was franked and even God encouraged this. He argued with God, questioned and challenged over the destruction of the City of Sodom. Abraham pestered God over what it would take to spare the city, negotiating God down from fifty righteous men to just ten. If perfection was a requirement for friendship with God, we would never be able to be His friends. Fortunately, because of God’s grace, is still the, ‘friends of sinners,’ (Matt 11:19).

Second, we must choose to obey God in faith. That every time we trust God’s wisdom and do whatever He says, even when we don’t understand it, we deepen our friendship with God. We obey God, not out of duty, fear or compulsion but because we love Him and trust that He knows what is best for us. We want to follow Christ out of gratitude for all He has done for us and the closer we follow Him, the deeper our friendship becomes. This friendship is not passive but active. When Jesus asks us to love others, help the needy, share our resources, keep our lives clean, offer forgiveness and bring others to Him, love motivates us to obey immediately. It is because Jesus did whatever the Father asked Him to do out of love.

We are often challenged to do great things for God. Actually, God is more pleased when we do small things for Him out of loving obedience. They maybe unnoticed by others but God noticed them and considers them acts of worship.

Third, I must choose to value what God values. This is what friends do they care about what is important to the other person. The more we become God’s friends, the more we will care about the things he cares about, grieve about the things he grieves over and rejoice over the things that brings pleasure to Him. What He cares so much is, the redemption of His people. He wants all His lost children found! That’s the whole reason Jesus came to earth. The dearest thing to the heart of God is the death of His Son. The second dearest thing is when His children share that news with others. to be friends of God, we must care about all the people around us whom God cares about. Friends of God tell their friends about God.

Fourth, we must desire friendship with God more than anything else. An example, for this is David in the Book of Psalms by which he used words like: longing, yearning, thirsting, hungering, etc.

Today let us remember the “yes” we have said in our lives. It is still aloud: “Yes na yes?” Or is it now just a soft, “Yes na lang?” Whatever it is, keep saying, “Yes pa rin!”

See Today’s Readings:  Cycle A

Back to: Twenty Six in ordinary Time (Year A)

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