November 5, 2022 – Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110522.cfm)
The presence of our friends in our life truly makes difference. It is usually with our friends that we share our deepest thoughts and dreams, our fears and confusions, our pains and sorrows, our joys and successes. Sometimes, our friends know more about us than our immediate family members. It is because friends allow us to be who we are. Friends give us the space to be fully accepted and embraced. Friends unconditionally support us and understand us because of our shared experiences, shared stories and shared dreams. These are some reasons that connect us intimately with our friends that make our hearts truly grateful.
Paul in his letter to the Philippians also recalled such gratitude in his heart for the gift of friendship he had developed with the Philippians. Paul who was in prison and was in many difficulties while being there and trying to survive, was comforted by the thought that his friends remembered him and cared about him. His friends sent material resources that he would need. This was not just the first time because even during the travels of Paul to preach in other cities, the Philippians expressed their generosity and support by providing his needs for the journey. Paul said it intimately, “it was kind of you to share in my distress.” The thought of being remembered by friends had given Paul assurance and confidence despite the suffering and persecution he faced.
More than this friendship, Paul also expressed that what sustained him was his friendship with the Lord. Paul expressed it in this way, “I have the strength for everything through him (Jesus) who empowers me.” This friendship with Jesus was the very reason of that friendship he had with the Philippians. Hence, Paul wished and prayed that the Lord may also bless his friends in Philippi.
This gives us a picture of our capacity to give oneself, to be generous and kind in order to express our support and love for our friends. Moreover, this also makes our heart to be truly gracious for the gift of friendship we have
This is the invitation that Jesus has for us today. The Lord warns the people of the desire to keep things for the self alone and become self-entitled to many things, which leads to corruption and dishonesty. The Lord also invites us to be generous enough to people in need. Being generous expresses in us the attitude of being trustworthy even in small things. This was how Jesus confronted some of the Pharisees who loved money and loved to enrich themselves in dishonest transactions. This kind of attitude does not develop true friendship but abomination in the sight of God.
Hence, as we make friends, we may truly become generous givers not just in terms of our material resources but also of our presence, understanding and support as our expression of our concern and love for our friends. As friends, we may also become grateful receivers and not “self-entitled-leeches” to our friends who only try the suck out the goodness and kindness of others. Kabay pa.