Friendship and Communion

The friendship Christ offers all men and women is a sign of God’s unconditional trust in us. At a distance of twenty centuries, amid our daily life, Jesus tells us everything he knows about the Father in order to draw us into his friendship. But this divine initiative requires our own cooperation, since “we respond to this friendship by uniting our will to His,” as Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz tells us in the pastoral letter included in this issue of Romana.

True friends live in communion. Deep in their hearts they want the same things, and desire each other’s happiness. Sometimes they don’t even need to use words to understand each other; it has even been said that laughing at the same things is one of the best signs of shared intimacy. When our communion is with God, rather than a strenuous effort to fulfill certain requirements (something that doesn’t happen between friends), it means spending time with each other, accompanying each other.

A good example here is St. John, the fourth evangelist. He let Jesus wash his feet, and leaned trustingly on his chest during the Last Supper. And at the end (perhaps without understanding what was happening), he refused to desert his best Friend and accompanied him at the foot of the Cross. The beloved disciple allowed himself to be transformed by Christ, and God gradually removed the dust from his heart.

Jesus at that Last Supper shows us that the secret of friendship is to remain with him. “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (Jn 15:4). Jesus wants to use our heart to love others. Without him we cannot be friends to the end.

Romana, n. 69, July-December 2019, p. 177.

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