I love the fact that God gives us best friends.
Who are your best friends? Who do you share your hopes and dreams, fears and worries, funny stories, and failings with? These people have been given to us for particular reasons, and they are no accident.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about the coming of the kingdom of God, which is awesome. He also relays that before the kingdom comes, He will have to undergo much suffering, which is not so awesome. Even more, we know that our call as Christians is to follow in the steps of Christ. Thus, logic proves that we too, then, must first suffer many things and be rejected by this generation before reaching the glory of eternal happiness.
Rejection kind of sucks, doesn’t it? Nothing about rejection and suffering feels good. Yet we know that we will experience suffering. We know that we will be presented with various crosses throughout our life in order to be perfected, to be brought closer to the Lord, and to share in His passion for souls. But it still doesn’t feel good.
We tend to be afraid of suffering and rejection. Our tendency is to try and hide from suffering as if it’s lurking around the corner waiting to devour us. So we crouch in the corner hoping to avoid it like we try to avoid eye contact with an ex at a party.
But friends, we don’t have to fear suffering because we are not expected to go it alone.
Let’s look at the First Reading. Remember how much Saint Paul suffered in his life? He was thrown into prison all the time and beaten, shunned, cursed, and accused. He was rejected more times than we can imagine. And what does he say to his friend, Philemon? “I have derived much joy and comfort from your love.”
Saint Paul and Philemon were best friends in the Lord.
In the midst of bearing his crosses, Saint Paul declares that his heart is refreshed through the love of his friend.
How good is God?
How many times are our hearts refreshed because of the people in our lives? How many times is our suffering made easier due to the love and comfort of our friends?
Our friends are magnificent blessings from the Lord. So let us go forth today and give thanks for our friends, for those who refresh our weary spirits and encourage us along the way to the resurrection.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Binette Photography.
Olivia Spears is a middle school religion teacher turned SAHM who is married to her high school best friend. You can find out more about her here.