Now I call you my friends since I have told you everything the Father told to me.

Jn 15:15

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I.

Life experience makes me ask: Do we really want friends?

In particular, do we really want a good friend, one who knows what friendship is because he or she has lived fully?  Been tested by life and sought its depth?  Its meaning?  Lives its laughter and its joys, its disappointments and hurts?  Shows courage and insight?  Acts with courage?  Runs the risk of the disapproval of the powerful in the wrong?  Grown to full humanity?  

Or do you seek only those like you?  Comfortable only with the shallowness of your pale, thin efforts or the veneer you so dearly guard – thinking so foolishly that no one can actually see who you are.

Think about it.

Have you not seen the best ones rejected?  Shunned because they were better than others, lived more fully?  Were more mature?  Wiser?  Saw more clearly? Were of greater insight and understanding?  Lived more skillfully?

Does our world seek excellence?  The person fully grown?

Let’s face it.  The world is populated by those who prefer the surface, if even that.  The crowd is populated by the lost, those who prefer to pretend.  They populate institutional life.  Yes, especially the institutions to which esteem is most often granted.  You see we prefer to believe that the emperors wear clothes.  Alas it is not so.

II.

Jesus wept. [1]

Jesus cried at the death of Lazarus.  He cried in public.  Others saw this. He cried because he loved.

… he came and found them sleeping … “could you not watch one hour …” [2]

In his agony in the Garden, knowing he would face his passion, Jesus asked his trusted friends to stay awake and watch, and pray that they might not face what he would face.  He found them sleeping.  They neither watched nor stayed awake.  They kept no vigil.

Did his best friends want a best friend?  Or did they want only one like them? One who would not disturb their slumber?

If your best friend cries in public, feels so deeply, sees so clearly, understands what is seen and unseen by others, would you shy away, keep a distance – accept them in arms length lest you too be drawn to fullness?

III.

You say you want a best friend.  Do you really?

Have you noticed we shun the best?  Crucify them?

Shalom.

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[1] Jn 11:35

[2] Mk:14:37

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