Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: January 7, 2020

The single word “Friend” is one of the most frequently found words in virtual communication. When Jesus speaks of his “friends,” he speaks of true friendship that involves an encounter that draws me so near to you that I give something of my very self.

In today’s instant communication, social media driven age, we know very little about true friendship. Most of our ‘friends’ are mere acquaintances and nothing more. I wonder, how many of them could you call in the middle of the night when something was truly wrong?

Pope Francis recently said that Jesus established “a new relationship” between God and man, freeing friendship from “sentimentalism,” bringing friendship to a relationship that involves a “responsibility that embraces our entire life.”

I recently saw a debate on Facebook between ‘friends’ where one decided that Christianity has become weak and ineffective. That we no longer take the world of God seriously and we should go out and enforce Muslims becoming Christians again. They took fodder that the Holy Father admonished a group of children to not try to convert, but rather be a living reason why someone would ask you your faith! As St. Francis once said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

I guess from the comments I can see that very few recognize that the center of the Christian faith is the doctrine of grace; which sadly, is never as graceful when it goes to those that we disdain, or don’t like very much, or perhaps don’t agree with, or are of another faith. But, as a priest with a vibrant and loving Franciscan Catholic parish that welcomes everyone to God’s table, I wonder where they would find a place to even think of becoming one in communion if it were not for those that you are ridiculing in your sharp words today? Which version of the Bible would you prefer we use to shut the door? Which admonishment would you say superseded the very words of our Christ when clearly stated ‘Love the Lord your God with all your soul and all your strength and all your might and love your neighbor as yourself; on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets’…but not here, not in our world today.

How will you be a light to the gentiles of today? Will you come with sword or heart open? How will you be grace-filled?

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