Friendship brings comfort in our distress


November 7, 2020 – Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time

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When we are in distress, in pain and in great confusion because of some difficult situation in our life, the people who come to share our troubles will surely bring comfort in us. Even when our friends cannot be present with us physically, but, their expression of being with us spiritually also brings confidence in our distressed hearts.

While Paul was in prison, the people who became his friends never left him. The Philippians who were converts of Paul’s mission travels, remembered him. They had been Paul’s supporters in joys and sorrows. And when Paul was captured by those who were hostile against the Christians, the Philippians made sure to bring aid to Paul in whatever way they can. Paul was being persecuted. His prison cell must had been a terrible place to stay. However, to be alone in there could have been more lonesome and grim.

That is why, Paul expressed in his letter to his friends, the Philippians, his gratitude to them. Indeed, his friendship with them brought comfort in his distress. Paul said, “It was kind of you to share in my distress.” To be remembered by friends and to have friends who are ready to empathize with us certainly brings confidence in us. Thus, more than the material gifts he received, Paul rejoiced for the gift of friendship with them.

Moreover, Paul also recognized that what gave him more strength was his friendship with the Lord. Paul expressed with confidence, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” This is also Paul’s invitation to the Philippians, that they too will grow more in their friendship with the Lord Jesus who shall give them the strength for everything.

The Lord, indeed, gives us the strength for everything. Paul learned how to adjust in every situation in his life and how to make every difficult situation bearable because of his faith and confidence in Jesus, the Lord.

This is the invitation for us today, that we become generous givers and gracious receivers of gifts. The Philippians became generous givers to Paul because they had been gracious receivers from Paul’s teaching and preaching. Paul, as well, became a gracious receiver of friendship from them because he had been a generous giver to them.

This is the very value that Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel, that we may not be possessed by our resources but become charitable. To become truly charitable is to become trustworthy even in small matters because we do not allow our hearts to be corrupted by the desire to have more and to keep more for ourselves alone.

Hopefully, we may grow in our consciousness of becoming aware of the needs of others and to be more generous in giving our ourselves to those friends who need help. We may also grow to have a welcoming and humble heart to receive the help from our friends and become grateful more of our friendship. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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