The Friend at Midnight
"And He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine has come to me from a journey and I have nothing to serve him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even if he will not get up and give him anything just because he is his friend, yet because of his shamelessness he will get up and give him as much as he needs."
One of the biggest struggles of being a Catholic college student is consistency. Consistency in prayer, consistency in going to mass, consistency in believing. Even just consistency in itself without the religious implication is difficult; studying, working out, any activity. The actions themselves may not be that hard, but having to keep a routine up as a college student who is always on the go is not easy.
In today’s parable, the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, to which he responded with the Lord's Prayer. Of course, as someone who loves teaching in parables, He doesn't stop there and expands on the prayer itself.
One of the reasons why consistency may be hard for us as Catholic college students is that sometimes prayer feels like we're talking to a wall, wondering if God is really listening to us. It’s difficult, but Jesus doesn’t turn a blind eye to how we feel. He understands where we’re coming from and that’s why He shares this parable of the Friend at Midnight. He wants us to know that God is listening.
A friend knocks on the door of another friend and asks for bread at midnight. This is totally crazy, I mean, at midnight? When my kids and I are already tucked in bed ready to go to sleep? Ask me during the day time! Of course, despite how absurd it is, we know the right thing for the friend to do is to give bread, even if it means getting up at midnight.
Similarly, we might also ask for the craziest things from God.
“Lord, can you change my C- to an A+.”
“Lord, can you give me a million dollars tomorrow.”
“Lord, can you give me a sign to know that you're there.”
Even the smallest requests might seem humongous to us, but what God always does is provide in the best way that he can, which is always the best way for us. Like the friend who was already sleeping and in bed, God gives us our request no matter how absurd it might be because he cares that much for us.
After going through the parable, Jesus then says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; Seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened”. We are taught that we should continue to pray and not be afraid to talk to God. He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to talk to Him, share about our day, share our likes, and dislikes with Him. Like our relationships with those closest to us, we also have to be fearless and consistently show up in our relationship with God. There is no relationship when both people don’t show up. And what is a relationship without honesty?
The friend at midnight isn’t crazy for showing up and expressing their needs. We're not crazy for being people of prayer. The only thing crazy about prayer, is not doing it. Pray when sad, when angry, when happy - just keep praying. The action itself may be easy, but the consistency is the hard part, and the most important. If we try, little by little, we will get to that strong relationship with God. Prayer works, so remember to ask and receive, to seek and find, to knock, because the door will be opened.