When I think about friendship, I often think of three key passages from Scripture. The first, from the Old Testament, describes the friendship between David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1). It talks about how much they loved each other—to the point of making a covenant together. The second comes from 1 Peter, where the apostle tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). And the third comes from Jesus himself, when he tells his apostles, “I no longer call you slaves. . . . I have called you friends” (John 15:15). This last one tells me that I have the opportunity of friendship with the Creator, Savior, and Lord of the universe. It never ceases to amaze me that Jesus wants to be my friend—a sinner like me, who can be so unfaithful to him!
More than any other thing that people consider valuable—money, career, beauty, athletic ability—love matters. More than any other thing that the Church considers valuable—good preaching, personal holiness, prayer, faith, or evangelization—our love for each other matters.
If our Church is going to be the light of the world that Jesus wants us to be, it will happen through our love for each other. This is what will knit us together and make our lives shine to the people around us. We live in an increasingly isolated, individualistic world. Extended family clans hardly exist. Neighbors barely know each other. Many people come to Mass for the sacrament (and that is good) but don’t get to know their fellow parishioners. Even adult siblings lose contact with each other over time. Imagine how attractive the witness of true Christian friendship can be in such a lonely environment!
So let me urge you to think about your friendships: with your immediate family, with your relatives, with the people in your parish, with your neighbors and co-workers, and finally with the poor and needy. Do a little self-evaluation in each of these areas, and ask what you can do to show a little more love and care for the people in your life, especially those closest to you.
Love Makes Us Strong. The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Clearly, it is a blessing to be loved. But even more important, when we love someone, we find a new strength to do whatever it takes to uphold, to encourage, to forgive, and to protect that person. We find the ability to be more patient, more generous, and more considerate. In short, we find ourselves becoming a bit more like Jesus.
I hope you enjoy reading this month’s articles on friendship. I hope they help you increase your love for your family and your friends. May the Lord bless you and all of the people in your life.
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]