group - smallWritten by: Fr. Mike Simoes

A common saying is “Show me your friends, and I will tell you what you are!” “We generally attract friends with whom we share certain values and beliefs; in turn, others attract us as friends by who we are.”[1]

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts from God, a priceless treasure. Friends share in our lives, and they in a sense become an alter ego or “another I.” This means that a friend is like another self, another you. In sharing in our lives, they experience our joys and our sorrows and we experience theirs. In this way, friends can rejoice together in the good times and they can fall back on each other in the bad times. In a good friendship, there is give and take that enriches our lives but also enriches their life. If the friendship is rooted in Christ, our friends can support us even with their prayers when we are going through difficult times, and hopefully also during the good times which becomes a source of consolation.

Jesus Christ had friends who He called and loved them with a special affection. More than just the apostles, some of Jesus’ other friends were Lazarus, for whom He wept when He learned of his death. Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary were also His friends, with whom He shared many meals with. Mary Magdalene and the other woman that followed Christ were also His friends. But the apostles were called to an even closer friendship with Jesus which we see in John 15:9-17:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”

With His friends, Jesus revealed Himself as the Son of God in the Transfiguration. He opened their minds so that they could understand all the things that He had taught them.  Today and for all time, Jesus has been calling men and women to be His friends. All who enter into heaven, be it like the proclaimed saints or those who have to pass through purgatory, are all friends with Jesus.

We too, are being called by Jesus to an intimate friendship with Him. And remember, the friends of Jesus are not only priests and bishops and those who have professed vows but also the laity. Anyone who follows His commandments is considered His friend. Jesus’ commandment to us is to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. As we grow in love, and therefore grow in holiness we received a deeper and more personal friendship with Jesus.


[1] Fr. Andrew Apostoli, When God Asks for an Undivided Heart, 153

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