Faithful Friends are Beyond Price


The Book of Sirach chronicles various types of friends. The inspired author notes, “There are friends when it suits them; but they will not be around in time of trouble … [but] faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth” (Sir 6:8-15).
The saints understood the demands of friendship, and lamented when others missed the mark. In his second letter to Timothy, after Paul criticizes his friend Demas, who abandons him during a trial, Paul praises Luke: “Luke is the only one with me” (2 Tim 4:11). Friendship is essential to the Christian life. Notice, Jesus doesn’t send his disciples out individually in the Gospel, but two by two.
Humans don’t just desire friends for companionship; authentic flourishing requires friendship for happiness. Like Luke, true friends stick around, even when everyone else has left. But true friends also correct when their companions fall into sin or error, as Paul did to Peter. Fire burns gold, only so that it might shine more brightly. The one who accepts the friendship of Christ Jesus, who said, “I no longer call you slaves, but friends,” will not only prove a good friend to others, like Luke was for Paul; but when a person faces the injustice and opposition of others – as Paul did – he will know he is not alone.
The attentive spectator of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” will wisely follow the advice of the angel Clarence, who reminds George Bailey, at the height of his sorrow and loss: “Remember, George. No man is a failure who has friends.”


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