Best Friends Forever
May 14, 2020
Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Opening Prayer: God my Father, I delight in your commandments and thank you for your love. Grant me the grace to remain in your love. Teach us to love one another.
1. Joy: The joy of God is men. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you.” God delights in us. He watches us with great interest and cares for us with true affection. He speaks to us and listens carefully to what we tell him. Nothing pleases him more than seeing us happy. “Like a young man marrying a virgin, your rebuilder will wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you” (Isaiah 62:5). God feels even more gladness toward us than a man feels on the night of his wedding. What a thought! And God wants us to be joyful too. “That your joy may be complete!” Our true and complete joy is in him.
2. Friendship: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” It is not always easy to be God’s friend, but we do have many great examples of saints who have preceded us in the faith. “It was because of his faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain…It was through his faith that Noah […] took care to build an ark to save his family…It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance…Isaac, Jacob, Moses. What more shall I say? There is not time for me to give an account of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, or of David, Samuel, and the prophets” (cf. Hebrews 11). By faith, God’s friends kept his commandments. We are Jesus’s friends because he has shared everything with us, including his life and saving message. “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”
3. Choice: St. Matthias was chosen by lot to join the ranks of the apostles and be numbered among the Eleven. We are also chosen by Christ for a specific purpose. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” Being chosen and being desired by God is existential bedrock. We thrive when we are needed, admired, and–in a spousal relationship–desired. How sad to find a bride despised by her husband, or a child unwanted by his parents! With God, we are set on rock. “No more will you be called ‘Forsaken,’ nor your land called ‘Desolate,’ but you shall be called ‘My Delight is in her,’ and your land ‘Espoused.’ For the Lord delights in you… And you shall be called ‘Cared For,’ a ‘City Not Forsaken’” (Isaiah 62). God yearns for us. We are his joy, his friends, and his desire. He loves us with all the loving power of God himself. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” Love him.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are my light and my salvation. You are my best friend, the joy of my heart. Stay with me always. Give me the grace to keep your commandments, knowing that your joy is in me.
Resolution: Lord, today, by your grace, I will tell Christ that he is my best friend and promise him that we will remain best friends forever.
For Further Reflection: Read aloud the poem “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” from seventeenth-century Anglican poet John Donne.