Saturday, May 25, 2013

To Choose and to be a Friend

This is a reflection on the daily readings for 5/24/12 (Sat) which may be found here.

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The wisdom of Sirach states, “For he who fears God behaves accordingly,” (Sir 6:17) which is to say that someone who fears the Lord will seek to live his life according to right conduct.

The Pharisees, the ones who sought to trick Jesus, were not acting in a manner respectful to the Law, but rather acting according to pride. These are the sort of people we should seek to correct, for any of us who engage in gossip or deceit in order to discredit our foes become a foe to right conduct. If they cannot or will not be corrected we should not share in their friendship, for a friend who speaks ill of others in a mean and spiteful way may become the enemy who does the same to us.

Sirach warns us to be on our guard and that when it comes to friends we should be selective and careful, probing the character of each.

The Psalm today is a hymn to this very process. Those who hold this Psalm in their hearts have the heart that each of us desire in a friend—delighting in God's precepts, desiring to understand His ways, and the humility to be lead in what is right.

Jesus warns, however, that a love of law—the Pharisees loved the law—must always be coupled by a life of love. Only then can both operate in harmony.

Love without the Law allows all others into our hearts as friends. Like bad dispositions, bad friends lead us to vice and sin. The Law without love makes us harsh, deceitful, and protective of a thing over a person. Both are good in themselves, but either can be corrupted into sin. It is only together, loving the Lord and His precepts, and loving each other, that either one takes root and transforms us.