Friday, February 25, 2011

A Life-Saving Remedy

February 25, 2011
Friday in the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; for he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself. (Sirach 6:14-17)

Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands. (Psalms 119:35)

(The Pharisees said to Jesus,) “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mark 8:34-37)

Lord, sometimes Your way is hard. I thank You for the people you put in my path who keep me honest by their example.

Last summer, I happened to be in the same city as a longtime friend, and mentioned I’d just been talking to a mutual friend.

The friend I was with looked at me thoughtfully. “Her walk is very different from yours, isn’t it?” she said after a few seconds.

“What do you mean?” I harrumphed, ready to be indignant or defensive.

“Think about your journey, and where she is and where you are. I’m not saying don’t be her friend. I’m saying don’t let anyone take away the progress you’ve made,” my friend said in a calm tone.

The conversation ended, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the words. It’s not that I became an evil person with our other friend who also is a Christian, but I did become a different person—more gossipy, less Christ-focused. She may have generally started the backbiting and negativity, but I was always there to join in. These days, I don’t go along in that relationship; I do my best to be the person Christ wants me to be, listening and loving but also firmly re-steering our talks when they go in a wrong direction.

Some of Jesus’s teachings are easy, at least on the surface. Others, including today’s Gospel on divorce, seem hard and antithetical to his teachings on love and kindness. The presence of faithful friends in our lives can help us accept God’s commands—and live them in a way that brings other friends closer to him.

When was the last time you checked in with Cursillistas for whom you were the sponsor or co-sponsor? In the next week, see where their walk has taken them since their Weekend. You’ll both be the richer for it.