Poor Job. Not only is he going through a lot of pain and sorrow. His friends turn against him. Job could have used the support and encouragement of his friends. Instead they accuse him of sinning and deserving God’s punishment. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
True friends are not judgmental but believe the best about us. True friends stand by us to cheer us on. They want us to succeed. They want us to be happy. In fact our pain is their pain and our joy is their joy, so closely do they identify with us.
In the book of Sirach we read, "A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. Sirach 6:14-15
Job realizes that his most faithful friend is God. Job calls him "my Vindicator." This vindicator will "stand forth upon the dust." And Job can’t wait to se him. "My inmost being is consumed with longing."
We learn about friendship at the foot of the cross. Jesus said, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for one’s friends." (John 15:13) He said it and then he did it. Jesus raises the bar for friendship.
In our gospel Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples to preach the kingdom. Will they succeed in reaping a great harvest? Only if they befriend, that is, love the people they are sent to. That means they must die to selfishness. That means they must sacrifice self-focus in order to be to keenly present to the other. That means they must respect, affirm and believe in the people they serve. …It was not easy for them, nor is it for us, to be a disciple of Jesus.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/