Thursday – The Friend
Doesn't the friend in Jesus' parable today seem just a bit annoying? First, he has nothing on hand when he receives a guest. We can, however, sympathize with him a bit there, for we all know the kind of panic inspired by an unexpected visitor. But it's already midnight, and instead of just tucking his guest into bed and promising a nice breakfast in the morning, this fellow goes galloping off to his friend's house and bangs on the door. He must know that the family would be in bed and asleep, but he bothers them anyway.
And he won't quit! He probably gets his loaves of bread in the end, but he might also have lost a friend or at least ticked him off.
What is Jesus trying to tell us by this parable? First off, we must admit that we're often just as unprepared as the friend in the story, not just materially but spiritually. We don't have what we need when we need it, and we don't always realize that until it's quite late in the game. That's usually when we discover that we need to ask for help.
Unlike the awakened and annoyed friend in the parable, however, the One we need to ask is always prepared to answer our requests. Yes, He wants us to persevere in our prayer. Yes, sometimes it seems like He takes a long time to answer. Sometimes He even says no. But He is always listening and always responding. He is our best Friend, the One we can always turn to in time of need. We can trust Him to hear us, answer us, and give us exactly what we need exactly when we need it. And He won't even be annoyed!
Friday – Children of Abraham
In today's first reading, Paul explains to the Galatians that, when they have faith in Jesus, they are children of Abraham. This might have come as a surprise to them, for the Jews claimed that designation for themselves and weren't about to extend it to Gentiles like the Galatians.
God, however, was perfectly ready to expand the meaning of “children of Abraham.” After all, He had once promised the patriarch himself that his descendants would be more than the stars or the sands on the seashore. All nations, in fact, would be blessed through Abraham.
And when Jesus, a physical descendant of Abraham in His incarnation, became man and died for our sins, He made us the adopted children of God and also of Abraham. He brought those who believe together into one big family, initiated by a covenant oath and held together by bonds of love.
We, too, then, can and should claim Abraham as our father. He is our ancestor in faith, our patriarch in salvation history, and, as we hope and pray, our companion forever in Heaven.
Saturday – Look, Seek, Recall
Today the psalmist tells us that we must do three very important things.
1. “Look to the Lord in His strength.”
2. “Seek to serve Him constantly.”
3. “Recall the wondrous deeds that He has wrought, His portents, and the judgments He has uttered.”
As we look to the Lord, we focus our attention on Him. We remember His constant presence. We lean on His strength to carry us through bad times and good. We pray and worship Him with faith and love.
As we seek to serve the Lord, we listen closely to learn His will and strive to carry it out with the help of His grace. We shine His light as we perform whatever tasks He wants us to do.
As we recall the Lord's deeds, portents, and judgments, we remember what amazing things He has done in the past and trust that He will continue to do so in the future. We marvel at His care for His people. We turn to Scripture to jog our memories and hear God's words.
Today, then, let us look at, seek, and recall our loving God.