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The theme of the readings is friendship—friendship with the Lord. The first thing that surfaces when we talk about friendship with the Lord is that there can be no proxies or substitutes. Your secretary can write a letter on your behalf. The respirator can breathe for you. The Osterizer can chew for you, but there is no machine, there is no personnel that can substitute for friendship with God.
Even if you have a holy wife or a holy husband, or holy parents or children, but if you do not follow their example of holiness, you will not be holy like them. When God makes friends, he makes friends personally; he does not do it by proxies.
The second thing about friendship with the Lord can be seen in the book of the prophet Jeremiah and in the parable in the Gospel. These readings tell us that friendship always entails sacrifice. Some of us may get away with making friends with people so easily. We give them gifts that may hurt only the pocketbook.
But when it comes to friendship with the Lord, there is no substitute for friendship based on sacrifice. If a friendship would be based only on dinners out, on outings and on parties and there are no opportunities to share aches, pains, and troubles together, that friendship is shallow.
The third thing about friendship with God, according to Jeremiah and the Gospel, is that it takes place between God and you. This rendezvous between you and God is not like this place, this church building. It is not a romantic restaurant or trysting place. The favorite place where you and God can stay together is your heart.
That is the favorite place of God. We can go to basilicas and pilgrimage places during this Jubilee Year, but if we have not had a rendezvous with God in his favorite place—which is your heart—then you will not be able to find him anywhere at all.
Jn 15: 13
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