Seeing Jesus’ friendships and really considering them carefully will no doubt help me in the days and weeks ahead. I’m particularly interested in the distinction of “love of neighbor” and “friendship,” in that friendship requires reciprocity. One error I’ve made over the years is considering those who do not reciprocate to be friends, even though in practice they are not.

Spiritual Friendship

A friend sent me an email this week with the text of a homily from several years ago by Fr. Raneiro Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, on friendship between men and women. The text is from Luke 10, on Jesus’ relationship with Mary and Martha. After noting the usual exegesis—that the passage is about the active and contemplative lives—Fr. Cantalamessa goes in a different direction:

I think, however, that the more evident theme is that of friendship. “Jesus loved Martha, together with her sister and Lazarus,” we read in John’s Gospel (11:5).

When they bring him the news of Lazarus’ death he says to his disciples: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I am going to wake him up” (John11:11).

Faced with the sorrow of the two sisters he also breaks down and weeps, so much so that those who are present exclaim: “See how much he loved…

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