All of us have at some stage in our lives found a friend who has become our best friend. We hang out together. We do things together. We enjoy each other’s company. We criticise each other. We correct each other. We just love more or less the same thing. We pursue more or less the same interests. And we both hope and wish the friendship does not end ever. Only because, we are best of friends.
But here’s the rub of life. Friends, no matter how strong and firm had to experience some break-ups and hiccups. For instance, my best friend and I had to part ways because he’s got married, moved to live in another place, and I had to enter the seminary. I felt so sad, as he was too, because that would mean for us not going to hang out together again, not enjoying each other’s company again, not doing more or less the same thing together, and just everything would never be same again for both of us. He moved on with his married life and I went on to join the seminary. It didn’t mean however, that our friendship was over. It only meant that our communication would be limited if not completely cut. And true indeed, since he married and I entered the seminary, we never had any communication for the reason that I don’t have his contact details, I don’t know whom to ask about him. And I could sense that this same reason would have hindered him to have any communication with me. It’s really unfortunate. I tried searching him in Facebook, but I couldn’t find him. I googled him, thinking that his name and address might appear in some ways, but nothing. Google and facebook are not the answer to everything because, not everyone has access to them.
Our Gospel today implies friendship. The disciples have formed a special friendship with Jesus, in a more real and intimate way. For them Jesus is their best friend. But here, according to St John, Jesus is still delivering his message of “farewell” to his close disciples. This declaration saddened and troubled the friends of Jesus. But Jesus assured them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled… I am now going to prepare a place for you…[and] I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too.”
Here, Jesus showed us the ideal of friendship. A friend is someone who does not just look for his own self-interests but that of his friends. “I am going…but this is for you my friend”, seems to be Jesus saying this to us his friends.
But Jesus would not leave us clueless, wandering, groping in the dark or leaving on our own until he comes again. He establishes a way of communicating with him, all the time. He said, ‘trust in him and his words’, ‘see him’ as the way; ‘believe in him as the truth; and ‘come to him as the life’ that sustains the friendship. But Jesus also knew that we couldn’t ‘tap’ all these means of communication if there is no direct connection to him. Therefore, he left us this great gift, THE means of communication which no technology on earth, no matter how advanced and complicated, can surpass or even equal- the Holy Spirit. This is his great gift that continues our communication with him our Lord and God, enlivens us here and now as friends of Jesus, and sustains as we wait in joyful hope for his Second Coming when he would take us all with him to his Father’s house.
As friends of Jesus, we are also called to be a friend to everyone around us. So we have in our First Reading today, the Apostles, who would not want to neglect their Ministry or prayer and of Spreading the Word of Jesus- their way of communicating with him- appointed the first 7 deacons or servants who would help in taking care of the poor widows of the Greek converts. In this way, Jesus is to be understood not only as friend to specific group or type of people but to everyone. And this is also a model of our human friendship.
And so, as we continue celebrating the season of Easter, let’s reflect on the way Jesus-the-best-of-our best friends, present to us how to be a friend of God and to everyone around us. Let’s continue the communication. Let’s lay our troubled hearts before him, our best friend, who never lets us down and who never stop communicating with us, even to the extent of laying down his life for us his friends.