Today is a special day in my life. On March 1st 2011, I began my journey as the Spiritual Director of the Jornada Movement. What was to be a six month assignment has become an assignment that has given me and my priesthood, light, life and love.
It was most appropriate that the first reading from this morning's Mass focused on friendship. Sirach speaks of happy, healthy and holy friendships. Many gifts have to me by being spiritual director of the Jornada, but nothing I cherish more than the friendships I have gained. Today I am ever grateful of the friendship I have through this movement.
But enough about me- lets talk about what the first reading says. In each of us exists a longing for others, and a desire to find ourselves in other people. This desire drives us to encounter other people; it drives us to relationships in all its varied forms.
The experience of friendship that we made in the Jornada Movement gives us a new kind of understanding. We become reconciled with ourselves as we are accepted by another, able to love ourselves as we are loved by others, accept who we are as others accept us even with our faults and failures. And since we become more ourselves, we have more energy available for the mission of life - to love one another. Therefore, this friendship has to be with the right people. Sirach says, ‘a faithful friend is a gift from God'.
As great of a friendship I have made with you, an even deeper and greater one has been made with the Lord. This friendship is seen in our complete and total dependency on God. It is to be profoundly aware that we belong to God who is strong, caring, eternally reliable, faithful, and incapable of deceit.
Friendship with the Lord is a pattern of life and a continued experience that we experience in the Jornada Movement. Let us find in Jesus a true friend, and may he direct us to the right people that we have to enter into relations with. Amen.