April 21, 2019: The Resurrection of the Lord - Pastor’s Corner
Christ is Risen. Truly He is Risen!
Recently while dining with some parishioners, I had a delightful and illuminative conversation about the nature of friendship. We reflected that friendship includes mutual support, encouragement, and kindness, but that personal experience reveals that real friendship goes deeper than this. As the famous Greek biographer Plutarch says, “I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” A friend tells you difficult truths that are hard to hear. A friend is someone who has hurt you, whom you have let down, but is healed and strengthened in the forged fires of forgiveness. A friend is not someone who completes you, but someone to whom you choose to give yourself without calculating the cost. In short, a friend is someone you share your life--with all its joys and sorrows.
At the Last Supper, Jesus shocks his disciples when he says “no longer do I call you servants … but I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Up until this moment, Jesus’ followers called him Rabbi, Master, and Lord. But as Jesus nears his Passion and death, he calls the disciples beyond simply being followers. He says: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus’ death on Good Friday reveals that deep in the heart of his love for his disciples is the burning desire for friendship. The fruit of this friendship is revealed on Easter Sunday as he Rises with the promise of eternal life for his friends. Jesus wants us to be more than his followers, he wants us to be his friends.
Though this invitation to friendship is delightfully surprising, it comes with challenges. Just as forming friends is difficult in this busy urban setting of San Francisco where it is much easier to use modern means of communication to avoid the face to face conversation that forming friends requires, so too our relationship with Jesus can stay on the surface. Our engagement with Jesus may include attending Mass a few times a year, treating others the way we would want to be treated and, in general, simply following the moral rules which our faith proposes. All these are good things, but they are not the fullest expression of friendship. Jesus wants us to share all of our life with him so that he can share his divine life with us. We often think of God as our Father, Creator, or Redeemer, but we don’t often reflect on the implications of this invitation to friendship. We might ask: do we want to be friends with Jesus? How would we accept this invitation? What would this mean practically for how we live? What changes would we have to make in our lives?
Our celebration of Easter is a time to renew our friendship with Christ. I invite you to come and join together as a community seeking Jesus’ friendship. In fact, I guarantee that if you join us in worship during this Easter Season, you will begin to form and continue to strengthen your bond of friendship with Jesus. Friendship is Jesus Easter invitation, his Easter gift.
On behalf of the Dominicans and staff at St Dominic’s, Happy Easter!