Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Facebook Friends Not Wanted

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

October 26, 2011

By Colleen O'Sullivan

Brothers and sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, “Lord, open the door for us.” He will say to you in reply, “I do not know where you are from.” And you will say, “We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.” Then he will say to you. “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” (Luke 13:22-26)


Though I trusted in your mercy,

Let my heart rejoice in your salvation:

Let me sing of the Lord, “He has been good to me.”

(Psalm 13:6)


I wonder what Jesus would have thought about Facebook. Don’t get me wrong; Facebook has some very positive points. I enjoy looking at photos of my friends’ kids and grandkids, for example. But I don’t understand people who would rather spend hours online sharing their thoughts with hundreds of Facebook “friends” when they could be spending time with a close friend in real life. It seems to me that the Facebook concept of friendship distorts the very meaning of the word friend.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is asked if only a few people will be saved. He doesn’t give a direct answer, but what he says has to do with the true meaning of friendship and love. He says we should attempt to enter through the narrow gate. At some point it will be closed. Then, we just might find ourselves banging on the door and begging the Master to let us in. But the Master will reply that he doesn’t know us. Jesus says we’ll probably give a Facebook friends kind of response – but we know who you are! We partied with you; we heard that you walked through the streets of our town teaching; we’ve even seen your Facebook page. Really, let us in; we know who you are.

It turns out that there’s a huge difference between knowing who the Lord is and really knowing him intimately as our friend and Savior. Jesus doesn’t need a bunch of Facebook friends. He’s looking for people who are willing to make him their closest friend, people who will genuinely love him and everything he loves, people who will open their hearts to him and allow him to love them and transform their lives.


If you’re feeling too much like a casual acquaintance of the Lord, take to heart Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans. Maybe we don’t know where to start in growing closer to God. Maybe we just don’t know what to say in prayer. But Paul says if we simply entrust our desires to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us.