Mass Reading & Meditation for May 24, 2013
Meditation: Sirach 6: 5-17
7th Week in Ordinary Time
“A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.” (Sirach 6:15)
Several years ago, sociologists at Duke University published a study on isolation in America. The study found that over the past two decades, Americans’ circle of close friends has shrunk dramatically. Twice as many people report that they have no one with whom they can share important matters.
How sad that so many people feel all alone! Unfortunately, it seems as if modern life keeps us from being too committed to one another. Between busy schedules, changing obligations, and fast-paced lives, we can allow ourselves to drift away from one another. It seems that we all want to have and to be faithful friends, but we find it very challenging!
Sirach describes the kind of friend we all want to have—one who sticks by us no matter what. In good times and bad, through ups and downs, a true friend remains faithful. It’s no accident, either, that this quality of faithfulness is echoed in the wedding vows we profess: for better or worse, in sickness and health, richer or poorer, until death.
So how do we learn to love like that? By steeping ourselves in the knowledge of God’s faithfulness to us: his unwavering, reliable commitment to us. The more we experience what this kind of friendship is like, the more ready we will be to show it to the people closest to us. Who loves more perfectly than Jesus, the Friend who never forsakes us, the Spouse who is always devoted? Who knows us better than our Father, who sees all our sin and yet stays with us to help us grow in holiness?
Take some time today to think about God’s faithfulness. Think about how he led his people to the Promised Land despite their weak faith and episodes of disobedience. Think about King David and how, despite his up-and-down faithfulness to the commandments, God never withdrew his blessing. Or think about how Jesus forgave Peter for denying him three times. Fill your mind with stories like these, and you’ll learn what faithful friendship looks like. Let them teach you how to be a better friend—and how to welcome the love of the friends God has already given you.
“Jesus, form your faithfulness in me. Show me how faithfully you love me so that I can become just as faithful to my friends.”
Psalm 119:12, 16, 18, 27, 34-35; Mark 10:1-12