The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
2018 – Cycle B
Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13
“Friendship is the most dangerous of all types of love”. So wrote Saint Francis De Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life. Why dangerous? What could be dangerous about friendship? Is it because, as Francis continued, that “friendship is mutual love, and if it is not mutual, it is not friendship”. Or is it that Francis demonstrating by his own friendships, one of which was with Saint Jane de Chantal, “that the deepest intimacy among people is an intimacy that finds it origin and goal not in the human partner, but in God who gives people to each other in friendship…” as a sign of God’s love [Henri Nouwen].
Have you ever thought of the people in your life, your friends, as gifts from God? …gifts which reveal some aspect of God’s love for you? Is that the danger, Saint Francis is talking about? Yet can there be any better friendship than one based on our love in and for Jesus?
Come back with me to the Upper Room. Darkness pierced by the light of oil lamps, shadows dancing along the walls, faces aglow, mixed feelings, a festive meal with a small group and Jesus says, “You are my friends…I no longer call you slaves…I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father”. Friendship is rooted in a sharing of life. How many spouses have I heard say, “I married my best friend.” What a wonderful place to begin the married life of husband and wife; mutual gifts given by God to each spouse.
Friendship is another word for companionship – a one–on–one relationship between two people marked by mutual honesty and openness without any fear of reprisals. Friendship requires the ability to listen from the heart to another person. It is not competitive or utilitarian. Friendship is tested over time.
Jesus wants to be our friend. But what does that mean? What meaning can friendship have for us who live in a busy and distracted world? Are deep and lasting friendships even possible today? Some would say that friendship is a lost art or that friend has been reduced to a mere word used on Facebook with its contradictory, ugly companion, unfriend. Is it possible to be friends with God, with the son, Jesus, whom we do not see if we are increasingly are unable to be friends with persons we do see?
If our friends are God’s gift to us that reveal God’s love for us, then “Yes,” it is possible to be friends with the God we cannot see. And like all friendship is rooted in a mutual sharing of life, that is, spending time being in each other’s company.
And so in the name of Bishop Edward I would like to invite you to the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress to be held on Saturday, 22 September 2018 at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville.
Auriesville located on the Mohawk River is the site of the Mohawk Nation’s settlement of Ossernenon and the place of the martyrdom of Jesuit missionaries Saints Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande.
What is a Eucharistic Congress? In the Catholic Church, a Eucharistic Congress is a gathering of God’s people that can take place at the diocesan, national or international levels of the Church. The purpose of this gathering is to bear witness to our belief, shared by Orthodox, and most Lutheran and Anglican Christians, in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The belief that on the night before he died and called all his disciples friends, Jesus, left us the possibility of always encountering his living being in his Body and Blood and in his humanity and divinity that we eat and drink for our salvation.
Eucharistic Congresses typically involve open air Masses, Adoration (spending time in the company of Jesus) and processions of the Blessed Sacrament (walking with Jesus as he did with the disciples on the way home to Emmaus) as well as other activities related to our witness in the world to Christ. At Auriesville there will be activities for children, Witness Presentations, Tours and a Rosary Walk. It is a time of fellowship with other sisters and brothers of our 14 county Diocese of Albany, common prayer and the experience of unity with our Bishop Edward.
The day will last from 9:00 am thru 3:00 pm and we are looking to provide a bus from Saint Mary’s. In this week’s bulletin and throughout the church are brochures with information and registration forms. You can also go to the diocesan website. On the table in the gathering area are lists to sign up for bus transportation. I encourage you to pray and consider joining together with our bishop for this day.
Saint Francis de Sales wrote that true “friendship requires close communication between friends, since otherwise it can neither come into existence nor remain in existence.” Is this not all the more true with our relationship with God? Here is an opportunity of the Holy Spirit for all of us; some to reclaim and rekindle a first love with our God, others to confirm their friendship with God or to maybe encounter the one who calls us friend for the first time. Either way it will be to experience what Saint Francis de Sales calls, “the passion of the soul” – divine friendship.
For more information on the Albany Diocesan Eucharistic Congress: http://www.rcda.org/heartsaflame
See John 15 for scripture passages.
Passages taken from Walking with God by Peter J. Vaghi, America, June 25, 2018, Vol. 218, No. 14. Page 34-36