When I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1986 shortly after my ordination at the hands of St. Pope John Paul II, I was contemplating a compelling portrait of Jesus. It was an image of His Sacred Heart, with flames of fire radiating from His Heart. However, what seemed to really captivate me most in the moment, were six words in Spanish that have been almost a motto of my life as Catholic, Religious and priest, and follower of Christ. These words were: “Jesus, el Amigo que nunca falla.” Translation: “Jesus, the Friend that never fails!”
Christological names are many: The Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, The Way, Truth, and Life, the Alpha and Omega, Lord, God, Savior, Redeemer, as well as Lamb of God, Son of man and Son of God. Each of these names, like a precious diamond exposed to the sun through a process called refraction, reflects a different glimmer of the majesty, greatness and beauty of Jesus the Son of the living God.
However, there is still another title that has captivated me for many years and hopefully will captivate your heart and it is Jesus, the Friend.
On Holy Thursday, as Jesus sat at the Last Supper, about to give to all of humanity until the end of time two extraordinary gifts—we call them Sacraments—Holy Orders and the Most Holy Eucharist, He also called the Apostles and us by a special name: I call you friends! In this most important moment in His life, shortly before being crucified for love of you and me He called the Apostles and us His intimate Friends.
Our Christian-Catholic religion has rules, precepts, orders, prohibitions, decrees and commands, this we cannot deny. The Ten Commandments are part and parcel of our deposit of faith. Nonetheless, if we limit our Catholic faith to nothing more than a series of rules, precepts, and mere Commandments to obey, then we have missed the boat, missed the mark, and focused on something very important but not most important and essential.
The essence of Catholicism is a love-affair. It is a deep, dynamic, and growing relationship with three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The second Person of the most Blessed Trinity is Jesus, the Son of God become man. He came into the world to save us. But also, Jesus came into the world to establish a deep, dynamic, and permanent Friendship with us.
The Bible says that to find a true friend indeed is a treasure. We might even call it the pearl of infinite price that we should be willing to give everything else up to acquire. Of all the friends that could exist in this world, friendship with Jesus is by far the best! He is the Friend, in the painting of the Sacred Heart, that will never fail us in time and for all eternity. Even the best of friends are destined to fail each other sooner or later. But Jesus will never fail us. We indeed fail Him, but he will never fail us, never….
For this reason one of the best motivations for us to strive energetically to observe the Ten Commandments is for the simple reason of desiring to establish, cultivate and grow in the dynamism of Friendship with Jesus.
For this reason Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen coined one of the best definitions of sin on the market: “Sin is hurting the one you love.” True, sin is breaking one of the Commandments. However, above and beyond the mere breaking of the one of the Ten Commandments, by sinning seriously we are breaking the Heart of God, a God that loved and stills loves us so much that He died on the cross to prove His love and Friendship for all of humanity, but for you and me.
If you were the only person in the created universe, your Faithful Friend Jesus would have come into the world, preached, taught, exorcised and especially this: he would have suffered all of the torments of His Passion, from the Agony in the Garden, through His crucifixion, up to the shedding of His last drop of Blood when the lance pierced His Sacred Heart. All of this Jesus, your best Friend, willingly suffered for love of you and me and so that He would be your Best Friend in time and for all eternity.
Therefore, when we examine our conscience going through the Ten Commandments, why don’t we take a fresh and new approach in preparation for Confession. And it is simply this! Recognize that your sins, in addition to the breaking of the Commandments, is especially the hurting of the one that loves you and the hurting of the one who wants to be loved by you!
Sin is saying “no” to the love of a God who is madly in love with you and has a burning desire for you to correspond to that love. Still more by sinning I am breaking the Heart of my Best Friend. By making a good confession, I am healing that wounded Sacred Heart and restoring the best of Friendships which will not end at the graveside but will last forever in eternity in heaven.
Therefore, by saying “no” to sin, I am really saying “yes” to the love of God and “yes” to a deep and growing Friendship with Jesus.
Face it, if sinning is simply breaking a series of cold and impersonal set of rules, then chances are we will go back to sinning. However, if we see sin in a personal light of hurting my best friend, wounding His Heart, then I will stop and think and renounce this temptation to sin.
May Our Lady and good Saint Joseph pray for us. They were the ones who loved Jesus best, had the deepest friendship with Him on earth and now and for all eternity they will be His best of friends.
Let us pray. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, make my heart like yours. Jesus Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I breathe forth my soul unto thee. O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine. Jesus, be my best Friend now, tomorrow, and for all eternity. Amen.