Sunday, August 12, 2018

Best Friends Forever

DaVinci's Last Supper in Milan, Italy
It’s “back-to-school time.” I’m going to give you a 2-part quiz. Part 1:
Who were the last two teams to win the Super Bowl?
Name the two wealthiest people in the world (according to Forbes Magazine).
I didn’t get 100%. Now part 2:
Think of two teachers who made a difference for the better in your life.
Name two friends who helped you through a difficult time.
I bet you named people there.

The point is simple: we quickly forget "super bowl" headlines. However, we don't forget those “heroes and heroines” who mentored or coached us through challenges, and who helped us answer the question: what on earth am I here for.  That, my friends, is precisely what Jesus does: our way, our truth and our life.

In the Gospel according to John, Jesus says he is the bread of life who can transform us into new creatures. Elsewhere Jesus works a sign/a wonder: he multiplies the loaves and fish, sharing with the hungry crowd.

As a community of disciples, Jesus satisfies our spiritual hunger at the table of the Lord with the bread of life, the Eucharist.

Jesus is our rabbi/teacher who shows us purpose in life, to live in relationship with Gode and one another forever.  He is our trustworthy friend who is always with us especially as we face challenges. And he's our mentor who graces us so that we can become the best version of ourselves.

This living Christ invites us, so says John 15:15, to be “friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”

Now, what is a friend? I recently came across a survey of 800 so-called young millennials. The results gave a snapshot of a lonely generation. Many had a large number of “Facebook friends” but still felt a sense of loneliness. Social media, of course, is no substitute for real, face-to-face friendships.

The Bible is very realistic about friendships. We see examples of relationships at their best, and also at their worst.

For me, friendships include at least three ingredients. First, partnerships. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. From the beginning of Christianity, we see friends working together. Paul and Barnabas, for example, “dedicated their lives ... to Jesus Christ.” We read they had a disagreement, parted company. But in the providence of God, Barnabas found a new partner in Mark, Paul partnered with Silas, and they went “through Syria and Cilicia, bringing strength to the churches.” (Acts 15:41). Yes, value partnerships, in marriage, in work, in the community.

Second, nurture friendships. Martin Luther King Jr. gave some good advice about how to do this, reminding us: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” Absolutely true in nurturing friendships.

Finally, make loyalty a priority.  If we sow loyalty, we will reap loyalty. We will even become trustworthy among those who aren't our friends.

Above all, think of Jesus as our best friend, soulmate and confidant, our kindly light forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment