YEAR A: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: A Faithful Friend is a Lifetime Treasure.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: “God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:6-9)
I think it is by divine coincidence that while our Gospel passage today is on the topic of divorce in marriage, our first reading talks about the Faithful Friend. In describing the faithful friend, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus) points out the qualities of the fake friend. These include:
- A Table Companion. This is one who comes to eat and party with you, helps you to spend your money but will never stand by you in the day of trouble. You are only important to such a friend as long as you are useful to them. They are parasites and very good at pretending.
A friend who changes into an enemy. Unlike the friend who seeks only his/ her personal interest, this is a genuine friend who cannot stand the test of time. A friend who is ready to die for you today but would do anything to kill you tomorrow.
A friend who cannot Keep Quiet. This type of friend is one who is always the first to announce you to the whole world. His/her middle name is gossip. This friend always comes loaded with stories to tell about other people (whether true or not and mostly over- exaggerated), you get excited and talk on but everything you say to such a friend will be tweeted live to the whole world.
From the foregoing, one glary point we see is that almost all the people we call friend are not actually our friends but just enemies in disguise or enemies waiting to happen. Hence Sirach advises, when you gain a friend, do not trust him hastily. It also adds: “Keep far from your enemies but be on guard towards your friends.”
Having described the qualities of the fake friend, Sirach goes on to talk about the faithful friend who is not like the above. It says “He that finds one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life.”
A faithful friend is one who can be trusted, one who makes sacrifices and gives rather than simply receive, one who will not gossip about you to your detriment and disgrace and above all, one who will never turn around to become an enemy tomorrow. Having a faithful friend brings a great boost to your life by filling your days with joy.
Now, we must bear this in mind; a faithful friend is not necessarily a sexual partner. In fact, any friendship established on the foundation of sin is not friendship at all but simply the devil’s trap. A friendship that takes us away from God does not bring life but kills instead. Hence Sirach adds: “Whoever who fears the Lord directs his friendship aright.”
One truth I have come to discover over the years is that marriage works only when the couple are faithful friends to each other. A faithful friend will never cheat on his or her spouse because he is she is not in the marriage for selfish reasons only. A faithful friend as the term implies is truly faithful; faithful to the marriage vows; faithful to God. A faithful friend is a companion for life. No matter how bad things become, a faithful friend will never turn into an enemy; he or she will never give up on their spouse.
A faithful friend loves to the end. Most of us are quick to say “how I wish I can find such a friend who will be faithful to me for life.” But in truth, what we should be saying is: “How I wish I can become a faithful friend to my spouse.”
As difficult as the topic of divorce may seem, the truth is that it in the mind of God, divorce is not the solution to marital problems; it is rather an outlet for infidelity. Just as a woman will not throw a baby away alongside the bath water, it is not the will of God that couple should divorce. Make your spouse your best friend. Be a faithful friend even if he or she does not deserve it.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, bless our marriages and make couples ever more faithful in friendship with one another. Save us from fake friends and heal us that we may never become fake friends to others. Amen.
Happy New Month. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Sirach 6:5-17, Psalm 119 and Mark 10:1-12).