From the pastor’s desk
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time– Year C– Become a friend of God and a great intercessor!
Last Sunday, as we saw, Abraham by being a great man of faith showed hospitality to humans without
knowing he was receiving God in form of men. His goodness was rewarded with the promise of the birth
of Isaac through whom his posterity would be continued. Today, by his goodness, Abraham became a great friend of God who walked closely with Him along the way. In that closeness, God decided to disclose his
intending plan of going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinfulness. As the two men walked on
farther towards Sodom, the Lord remained standing before Abraham. The closeness between God and
Abraham shows that the original close friendship between God and human beings which sin had destroyed,
is now being re-established. This state of friendship shows that God is prepared to reveal his secrets to those who are innocent and faithful. He is favorable and listens to their prayers. It was in this state of friendship
with God that Abraham persistently interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah asking the Lord to spare the two
cities for the sake of few righteous people in them. The two cities could not be spared for the lack of few
good people. Rather, Abraham’s nephew, Lot and his wife and two daughters were saved, while the two
cities were destroyed with Sulphur and brimstone.
What Abraham did here, points to Jesus in the New Testament who is the innocent servant and Son of God, prepared to suffer and to die so that the whole humanity might be saved. From God’s friendship with
Abraham and Jesus’ inseparable oneness with the Father, we learn how to become friends of God and great intercessors. Today, Jesus revealed the beauty of being in oneness with the Father in prayer. One of his
disciples saw this beauty and asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, just as John taught his disciples. Jesus went ahead to teach us how to pray. Jesus’ prayer spells out the Father-Son relationship. It is Jesus’ own
prayer life. It requires persistence, an act of being at all times in relationship with God and being his friend.
It is only Jesus who introduces us to this union with him through baptism. That is why St. Paul tell us:
“in baptism you were not only buried with him but also raised to life with him because you believed in the power of God who raised him from the dead (Colossians 2:12).” Jesus Christ is the new temple in whom
we encounter God. Every disciple of Christ must at all times be conscious of the baptismal life. To be a
friend of God, one must always reject Satan, Sin and death and live in imitation of Christ by saying “yes”
to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and so promote God’s glory. Through the life of baptism, one
lives out a life of childlike trust in God in union with Jesus Christ. In baptismal life, one lives in obedience
to Jesus and heed his teaching: “forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who do us wrong (Luke11:4).”
In baptismal life, one lives in imitation of Christ who not only teaches us by word but shows us by deed
what he has taught us. On the Cross, he prayed for his executioners, asking the Father to forgive them for
they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34). In Jesus, through Jesus and with Jesus, the sacrament of our
encounter with God, we become friends of God and great intercessors. We then can become spiritual sons
and daughters of Abraham, our father in faith who stood with God and persistently interceded for others.
Rev. Fr. Michael Onyekwere, SDV, PhD