Never has friendship been so needed, and yet perhaps never has it been so neglected. Long before Jesus Christ came into the world as the love of God made visible (cf. 1 Jn 4:9), the ancients were already convinced that friendship held a unique and irreplaceable position among the four loves. Aristotle, in fact, claimed that without friendship no one would even desire to live. In the wisdom writings of the Old Testament, the author of Sirach reflected on how rich a gift friendship is, asserting that “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure” (Sir 6:14). By the time of the coming of Christ, the human community, torn by the divisions from Adam and Eve’s first “no” to God and every subsequent turn from the Father, doubted the universality of human friendship and denied even the possibility of divine friendship. When Jesus assured his apostles that they were no longer servants but friends, hPicture of smiling women linking arms in friendshipe introduced a radical newness of possibility in love that needs to be re-proclaimed to and experienced by every generation with all its transformative power for human and divine friendship.
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