Sirach 6:5-17; Mark 10:1-12
Today's first reading is truly a beautiful portrait of what a friend is suppose to be.
The writer really paints a particular impressive picture of friendship.
"a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum canbalance his worth. a faithful friend is a lfe saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; for he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself."
What is even more amazing is that this reading is coupled with Jesus' discourse on marriage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore what God has joined let no man separate."
Marriage and friendship go hand in hand. In fact, couples who drift apart lose sight of their friendship; they lose sight of what they have in each other.
They forget the bond of friendship welded by the grace of God. They let everything trump the gift of each other to themselves. They get busy being parents or being wife and husband or they try to make each other like the other or they seek to change the other and forget that it was their differences as well as their similiaities that enabled the bond of friendship to form.
They forget they are called to be a sturdy shelter, a life savig remedy for one another.
closer look at friendship.
Most languages have words for "friend" such as the following, amigo in spanish, rafiki in swahili, droog in Russian, tomodachi in japanese, homey, chum, mate and the list goes on.
In greek the word achates is used for friend and it literally means Armor-bearer. The one who goes before the other and protects and prepares the way.
Think about that. How many of us, who are friends, consider ourselves the armor-bearer or protector of the other. Certainly we are companions but yet we are so much more.
No wonder Jesus on the night he dies looks at his disicples and says I no longer call you servants but friends. He is the one who goes before us protecting us and freeing us moursleves with the gift of his self on the cross.
Friendship is the one bond that remains eternal.
Pray to be a good friend, one that fears God and is faithful. More friends like this will slowly change the world for the better.