Counting on the friendship with Jesus

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Arlo Yap SVD (Philippines) Friday Week 28, 2 Tm 4:10-17b, Lk 10:1–9

Dionne Warwick‘s hit song, That‘s What Friends Are For, written by Burt Bacharach and wife, Carole Bayer Sager, bear these lyrics.   

Keep smiling, keep shining   

Knowing you can always count on me, for sure   

That‘s what friends are for   

For good times and bad times   

‘Il be on your side forever more   

That‘s what friends are for   

In his second letter to Timothy, Saint Paul mentioned Demas, Crescens and Titus   who had deserted him. Only Saint Luke remained with him. I can imagine how sad and devastated Saint Paul was and Saint Luke trying to cheer him up singing the same Warwick tune.   

Despite harsh situations and difficulties, Saint Paul did not abandon Jesus and his mission to proclaim Him to the Gentiles. The 1st reading describes how the Lord,   likewise, stood by Paul and gave him strength to continue the proclamation so that the Gentiles might hear it. Indeed, that is what friends are for.   

Today‘s Gospel also illustrates friendship. Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples and sent them, two-by-two, to every town and place Jesus intended to visit. The mark of discipleship, which highly motivated them was friendship with Jesus and trust in Him.  

The disciples, sent two-by-two (buddy-buddy) like meek lambs among hungry wolves, embodied such friendship. They would not give up on each other, like Saint Luke in relation to Saint Paul. Jesus also instructed them not to bring any money bag, sack; not even sandals, despite knowing what His disciples would face in their mission.  Jesus assured them that He will be on their side forever more as the Bacharach song says.   

And because of Jesus‘ friendship and commitment to His disciples, and in particular, to Saint Luke, they can now declare before Him in response: Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom!

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