Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Friends and Witnesses

When The Lord sent out his disciples, we are told that he sent them in pairs.  In his epistles, St. Paul often refers to his companions. The friendship shared among disciples is evangelical by its very nature. In the way that the companions love one another, they testify to the life of grace and to the work of ongoing conversion. Their Christian friendship bears witness to the life that they were sent to preach and into which they seek to invite others.

In a particular way, priestly friendship not only benefits the priest, but also the people to whom he is sent. In these past couple of days, the fraternal presence of a few priest friends of mine placed me squarely in the presence of Christ.  Their friendship and presence allowed me to experience amid life's varied distractions, burdens, and sorrows, the unconquerable presence of Jesus, The Lord. Encountering Christ through their friendship allows me to be a more convincing witness of Christ to others.

Over the years, parishioners have walked into my rectory kitchen to discover a table filled with seminarians and priests. At other times, perhaps there are just one or two sitting there. No matter how many, inevitably the faces of the parishioners light up when they witness the friendship we share.  To them, our fraternity is a consoling sign of Christ's nearness. And that is precisely what it is for us too.

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