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6th Sunday of Easter B


Sixth Sunday of Easter 

Many people tried to convince me to join “Friendster” but I didn’t. But now I joined “Facebook” and I am hooked into it, checking my account everyday and faithfully updating pictures and personal events.  By now these cyber networks are considered a new cultural phenomena.  What makes “Friendster,” “Facebook” and “Multiply” a big success among us?  And related to this, what makes cell phone text messages an untiring passion among the old and the young? 

For one, these activities ignite in us the passion to connect with others -faceless, yet exciting others.  Though not physically present, they are our “friends.”  They may not send us regular and original messages but we keep them on our list because we believe they are there for us, when we need them. They are our collection, our reserve of friends.

Today we experience an evolution of the meaning of the word “friend”. A friend is someone linked to us by computer or cell phone; someone we are drinking buddies with; someone with whom we engage in the same sports or hobbies. What does Jesus say to us about this?

The gospel today challenges our shallow definition of friendship. Jesus describes friendship in terms of love, deep love, passionate and real love, willing to die for others. There is no greater love, the Lord says, than to give up one’s life for others, for one’s friend.  A true friend promotes not his own interest, but the life of others.  He is not only there to supply you with quotes and images or to assure you that you belong to an umbrella of abstract relationship.  Friendship is concrete, because it is the capacity, the willingness and the desire to make the life of another better through your sacrifice.

And then Jesus calls his disciples friends.  He calls us his friends. In this he has every right because he is the best friend of every human heart.  By carrying on the cross all our sins, he showed us the real meaning of friendship.  And now risen and full of power, he continues to pour out his love, his guidance, his protection and his healing on all his friends.  So many people have forgotten that the real image of a true friend is to be found on the face of Jesus.  Looking for a friend, we search elsewhere. That is why even as we feel the intense longing for love and belonging, we seek to address this need by turning to people we do not see or hear. 

Maybe it is time to pause awhile and look into the eyes of the one friend who has already proven his love for us through his death and resurrection. Maybe this Easter time is the best moment to examine how much we appreciate the friendship God offers us in His Son who continues His personal contact with us in the depths of our hearts.

Are we as excited to read the Bible as we are in checking our “Friendster” accounts?  Are we as sensitive to Jesus in the Eucharist, in prayer, in the events of our lives as we are to the ring tones and vibrations of our cell phones?  This week, let us give space in our hearts for the Friend who continues to silently manifest to us his love. Let us give offer him a bigger space in our hearts, minds and lives.  He is our true and best friend!