Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"Be Jesus' Friend"? That's Possible?

Audio Sat. Eve:
Before I talk about friendship, I want to share a story.  So as we celebrate Mother's Day, I was asked by a mother in the parish what I'm going to get my mom this year.  I said "Oh, nothing; I'll just send her an e-mail."  Well you can imagine her shock at that response.  But what I then explained is that my parents are away in Italy right now - their first trip out of the country, ever.  Mom sent me a picture saying they are enjoying some chocolate in Bologna.  I asked them if they went to Chocolate yet and tried the bologna.  I don't know how well the joke went.  So anyways, I decided to get on my Facebook page for the first time in like literally three years to see if they have been posting any pictures there (because they've only sent one e-mail and one text message).  What a whole new world I found there.  My entire family's life right before my eyes!
Then I remembered why I hadn't been on this website for, yes, 3 years: 700 friends?  How could that be the case?  I haven't even made 700 phone calls in the past year! How many of these are actually "friends?"  What does it even mean to be a friend?

I know one thing: a hamster cannot be my friend.  Not even my childhood dog can be my friend.  There needs to be some kind of mutual exchange and sharing of hearts, sharing of our very person with another.

Pope Saint Gregory says "A friend is, as it were, a keeper of the soul." To guard and care for the soul of another person, as a gardener protects and nurtures a plant, is to be a true friend.  Aristotle has three types of friendship, but really the first two are false versions: simply for usefulness (such as co-workers) or for mutual enjoyment (having a good time together).  These aren't necessarily bad but they certainly could be very unhealthy, and definitely leave a lot to be desired.  True or perfect friendship Aristotle describes as "the friendship of people who are good and alike each other in virtue; they both wish well upon each other, and are good themselves."  My point in all this is simple: a true and perfect friendship is a special blessing and gift from God.

Now in the Gospel today, Jesus calls us His friends.  But some of you might be thinking: "Be Jesus' Friend"? That's Possible?  In fact, On Wednesday I was at a conference and heard a surprising statistic from a reputable study.  The study was focused on religious practice in the United States, and it said that among the practicing adult Catholics (that would be you who are here today), most of you are not certain that a personal relationship with God is possible.
Today my friends, I am here to tell you again, YES, JESUS IS CRAZY ENOUGH IN LOVE WITH YOU TO WANT YOU TO BE HIS FRIEND.  Look at that Cross.  Would you do that for your dog? No, or at least you shouldn't.  Would you do that for your soul-mate? Yes, even if it was the hardest choice of your life.
Jesus chose you.  You are (or can be) His friend.  You aren't here for yourself, and you aren't here by yourself.  God made you, and he brought you here to this day.  Thanks be to God for the great condescension he shows in becoming human so He can befriend us.  Now let us accept that invitation, but not with one of the half-hearted versions of friendship.  Jesus doesn't want to be just a facebook friend, one among the 700 that we never think about or talk to.  He doesn't want just a utilitarian friendship, where He becomes a means to an end.  And he deserves more than a friendship that only shares the good times, even though a life in God will bring happiness both now and into eternity.  No, Jesus wants a true and perfect friendship, a sharing of hearts and a guarding and nurturing of their very person.

It's pretty simple, Jesus says: "You are my friends if you do what I command you."  So our response is to love Our Lord in a true and perfect friendship, guarding and keeping our Lord's heart in the choices that we make, in the way that we live.
May we pray today and always: Jesus, lover of my soul, my true and deepest friend, help me to stay close to you and to love you in all that I do, to never abandon your friendship.  Amen.

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