When I arrived in Buenos Aires,
Argentina in 1986 shortly after my ordination at the hands of St. Pope John
Paul II, I was contemplating a compelling portrait of Jesus. It was an image of
His Sacred Heart, with flames of fire radiating from His Heart. However, what
seemed to really captivate me most in the moment, were six words in Spanish
that have been almost a motto of my life as Catholic, Religious and priest, and
follower of Christ. These words were: “Jesus,
el Amigo que nunca falla.”
Translation: “Jesus, the Friend that never fails!”
Christological names are many: The Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, The
Way, Truth, and Life, the Alpha and Omega, Lord, God, Savior, Redeemer, as well
as Lamb of God, Son of man and Son of God.
Each of these names, like a precious diamond exposed to the sun through
a process called refraction, reflects a different glimmer of the majesty,
greatness and beauty of Jesus the Son of the living God.
However, there is still another title
that has captivated me for many years and hopefully will captivate your heart
and it is JESUS THE FRIEND.
On Holy Thursday, as Jesus sat at the
Last Supper, about to give to all of humanity until the end of time two
extraordinary gifts—we call them Sacraments—Holy Orders and the Most Holy
Eucharist, He also called the Apostles and us by a special name: I call you FRIENDS! In this most important moment in His life,
shortly before being crucified for love of you and me He called the Apostles
and us His intimate Friends.
Our Christian-Catholic religion has
rules, precepts, orders, prohibitions, decrees and commands, this we cannot
deny. The Ten Commandments are part and
parcel of our deposit of faith.
Nonetheless, if we limit our Catholic faith to nothing more than a
series of rules, precepts, and mere Commandments to obey, then we have missed
the boat, missed the mark, and focused on something very important but not most
important and essential.
The essence of Catholicism is a
LOVE-AFFAIR. It is a deep, dynamic, and
growing relationship with three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the
The second Person of the most Blessed
Trinity is Jesus, the Son of God become man.
He came into the world to save us. But also, Jesus came into the world to
establish a deep, dynamic, and permanent Friendship with us.
The Bible says that to find a true
friend indeed is a treasure. We might even call it the pearl of infinite price
that we should be willing to give everything else up to acquire. Of all the friends that could exist in this
world, friendship with Jesus is by far the best! He is the Friend, in the painting of the
Sacred Heart, that will never fail us in time and for all eternity. Even the best of friends are destined to fail
each other sooner or later. But Jesus will never fail us. We indeed fail Him,
but he will never fail us, never….
For this reason one of the best
motivations for us to strive energetically to observe the Ten Commandments is
for the simple reason of desiring to establish, cultivate and grow in the
dynamism of Friendship with Jesus.
For this reason Venerable Archbishop
Fulton J. Sheen coined one of the best definitions of sin on the market: “Sin is
hurting the one you love.” True, sin is breaking one of the Commandments.
However, above and beyond the mere breaking of the one of the Ten Commandments,
by sinning seriously we are breaking the Heart of God, a God that loved and
stills loves us so much that He died on the cross to prove His love and
Friendship for all of humanity, but for you and me.
If you were the only person in the
created universe, your Faithful Friend Jesus would have come into the world,
preached, taught, exorcised and especially this: he would have suffered all of
the torments of His Passion, from the Agony in the Garden, through His
crucifixion, up to the shedding of His last drop of Blood when the lance
pierced His Sacred Heart. All of this Jesus, your best Friend, willingly
suffered for love of you and me and so that He would be your Best Friend
in time and for all eternity.
Therefore, when we examine our
conscience going through the Ten Commandments, why don’t we take a fresh and
new approach in preparation for Confession. And it is simply this! Recognize that your sins, in addition to the
breaking of the Commandments, is especially the hurting of the one that loves you and the
hurting of the one who wants to be loved by you!
Sin is saying “no” to the love of a
God who is madly in love with you and has a burning desire for you to
correspond to that love. Still more by sinning I am breaking the Heart of my
Best Friend. By making a good confession, I am healing that wounded Sacred
Heart and restoring the best of Friendships which will not end at the graveside
but will last forever in eternity in heaven.
Therefore, by saying “no” to sin, I
am really saying “yes” to the love of God and “yes” to a deep and growing
Friendship with Jesus.
Face it, if sinning is simply
breaking a series of cold and impersonal set of rules, then chances are we will
go back to sinning. However, if we see sin in a personal light of hurting my
best friend, wounding His Heart, then I will stop and think and renounce this
temptation to sin.
May Our Lady and good Saint Joseph
pray for us. They were the ones who
loved Jesus best, had the deepest friendship with Him on earth and now and for
all eternity they will be His best of friends.
Let us pray. Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, make my heart like
yours. Jesus Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary, and
Joseph, I breathe forth my soul unto thee. O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament
divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine. Jesus, be my
best Friend now, tomorrow, and for all eternity. Amen.