FRIENDS IN THE LORD
“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” – Mt. 10:8
Francis Xavier is most known for his missionary work in Asia. He lived the Jesuit spirit of, “Go forth and set the world on fire.” Today’s Gospel appropriately talks about Jesus sending forth his disciples to “Go to the lost sheep…, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons.” Our church is indebted to the heroic, missionary spirit of these courageous men. However, what is less often discussed and no less pivotal in the church’s history is the friendship between Francis Xavier and the founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius of Loyola. Without their mutual love and friendship, perhaps the Jesuit order might have remained a dormant imagination of Ignatius, and the world would have been poorer for it.
When I moved away from home, the future seemed both exciting and scary. I left the safe comfort of high school and college friends not knowing if I would find people I could be myself with. Strong relationships take time to build. So how would I find relationships that are as rich as with those I had a 15-20 year history?
I was invited to join a small faith-sharing group and was apprehensive about it in the beginning. “What are we going to do, talk about God and our feelings all the time? How can I share with people I barely know?” To my surprise, we bonded really quickly. We genuinely love each other and share in our joys and pain. My time here is not without bumps and struggles, but I can live with trust because I have been blessed with good companions along the way.
The abundance in our friendship is because we are friends in the Lord. Our community and friendship is a wonderful and unexpected gift. We may not be called to be missionaries in some far and impoverish country as Francis Xavier, but we all are called to be good companions to the friends who are gifts in our lives as Francis Xavier and Ignatius of Loyola were to each other.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the friendships in my life. Help me to grow in deeper love through you with all you have gifted to me.