I often think about how much I loved friends who are no longer in my life. The friendships have ended years ago but I still feel how much I miss them in my life. I miss hearing their funny sayings, their daily anecdotes about their day, sharing our mutual love of the same movies and sharing quotes when we need to be cheered up. I miss who they are, what makes them unique; I miss what they brought to my life simply by being themselves and living life alongside me.
Today’s First Reading in Philippians 1:1-11 can be read as a beautiful love letter to friendship. I think Saint Paul appreciated his friends. I think he valued them for who they were. I think he also urged and encouraged his friends to foster relationships built on the truth of how Christ called them to live and in the truth of who and how they were created by God.
Saint Paul mentions the joy he shares with these friends, his affection for them, the love and grace of Christ that they share. This is what friendship should bring to all our lives, and yet we all know that it’s easy for friendships to fall victim to personal sin, for friendships to break.
I know my failed friendships have been the result of some failure to love. A failure to understand the other, a failure to forgive the other, a failure to see Christ in the other, to pray for the other. And now I feel the pain of that separation from these people that I loved; it’s a pain I don’t want to happen to the friendships in my life today.
I think we would all be well reminded to take to heart Saint Paul’s call to friendship today. Are we appreciating the friends in our lives? Are we growing in the love of Christ? Are we praying for our friends? Let’s begin today.