As a human person, Jesus had His earthly family, that most precious of relationships, but we also know that He had friends. If you can imagine, a person who is love incarnate must have had many dear friends, people whom He accompanied, people who accompanied Him.
Scripture tells us, in the story of The Raising of Lazarus, He even wept for his friends.
Jesus wept because He loved. It is a love that came from interaction. A love that came from relationship. It came from spending time together. Even now, we are called to this, to spend time with Him, to become His friends.
We are not strangers to our Lord. He knows us, each and every one by name. He has always known us.
Such is His love for us. But His love goes beyond a relationship with friends. He calls all of us to His very Self.
We know that our Lord could have handled all of His work by himself. That was well within His power to do, yet that is not what He did. Instead, Christ called the many disciples to follow Him. He called them from all different walks of life. Fishermen, tax collectors, Jews and Samaritans, poor and rich, sinners… called all of them to a life in Him. He called the disciples to relationship both to Him and to each other. He called them then, as He is calling us now. He calls us to become Church.
The word Church means “congregation,” which comes from “to congregate” or to “put together.” We are meant to be together.
So, what is there to learn from all His calls to us? What do we learn from His desire to be among us? What do we learn from His time as a child and man, son and friend, teacher and redeemer?
We learn that our Lord is not a solitary God. He shows us that He is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His very substance, His nature, is relationship. He is Community, and He knows that we need that too. That is why, when He instituted the Eucharist in that upper room millennia ago, He left himself behind as a gift to us in the consecrated host. Sustenance for us to help encourage, maintain, and nourish us while still here on Earth.
In the Eucharist, Christ is tangible, fully present. Those who believe and are fully initiated into the Faith can commune with Him directly during the Sacrament of Communion. What a great gift for us! We pray that we become what we eat and that, from that union, we may be as Christ is in this world.
Our Lord humbles Himself so greatly from His love for us. He splendidly, yet humbly, comes forth whenever the Priest consecrates the Host at Mass. The Mass is truly the greatest of prayers. It is both sacrifice and banquet.
Our Lord is majestic. We owe Him thanks, praise, adoration, and the gift of our presence, even outside of Mass.
We are always called to be Church, not just on Sundays. We are called not just some of the time but all the time, and not just here but everywhere.
Yes, we are His friends and His disciples. He came so that each of us can have a personal relationship with Him, that we may behold Him who loves us! This call to relationship is so that our eyes can see what our hearts already know, that He is King, that He is God, and that He cherishes us. Are we ready to answer His call?
Let us pray: All-loving Lord, our beloved. You came to offer us the gift of Your love. You call us friends, Your beloved. Help us to accept You into our lives, that we may walk together with You and our brethren on the path home to Heaven. We are thankful for Your love. Amen.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.