Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Invitation 1: Friend

Question:

What acts of friendship have you initiated or received this week?
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Transcript of Video:

We could say the gospel of John is about all sorts of things. But primarily the gospel of John is about friendship. And we see in the gospel of John this friendship between the beloved disciple and Jesus, particularly the beloved disciple and Jesus. But also, I would say Mary Magdalene and Jesus and some of the other disciples and apostles and Jesus. And one of the things that John’s gospel can do for the reader, for you, is to discover yourself as the beloved disciple. So the beloved disciple isn’t somebody else it’s me, it’s you. And in that way I think Jesus opens his heart to you and Jesus invites us to share his life and his love and to come to know him. To come to know him not only as or even perhaps primarily as Lord or God but first and foremost as friend.

– Br. James Koester

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71 Comments

  1. Beth on March 25, 2014 at 10:46

    I saw someone who had lost her mother a year ago. i told her that her Mom was still thought of in in our hearts

  2. Lynn taylor on March 22, 2014 at 23:21

    Offered to help Liz
    Checked on Britney
    Met Jason and Phillipa. Texted them fearlessly

  3. anonymous on March 20, 2014 at 09:58

    i love the idea of john being mostly about friendship and that jesus’s invitation is one of intimacy, trust, belovedness, friendship. Wow. Friendship is all around me this week, both giving and receiving in tiny ways, but this reminded me that there were other acts of friendship on the “to do” list that were easy to extend, once reminded…….and others that need to be unearthed and revived (resurrected) as well……I find there’s not much distinction in giving/receiving in the world of friendship……

  4. Sr. Donna Morgan,OGS on March 19, 2014 at 16:40

    I have spent the weekend and the beginning of this week preparing for 2 large community events at our church; one a Spaghetti dinner for 100 and the other, a Memorial Mass and reception for 150-200 people. This is all done out of love for our community and I have depended on good friends and good friends have depended on me to get this accomplished.

  5. Mary on March 19, 2014 at 07:58

    Looking forward to being with my church family after being away for several weeks due to work and travel. They are a blessed community and I am truly grateful for their love and searching souls!

  6. Lorna Harris on March 18, 2014 at 21:54

    acts of friendship – Well, I enjoy connecting with my friends on Facebook – wishing them better health if they are ill or congratulating them on an assignment well done or ‘liking’ their baby/pet pictures. Also going to a friend’s house this afternoon to help with a computer problem was a friendly gesture. Emailing friend and family to keep in touch – I guess I do a lot of friend-making things! I enjoy keeping in touch.

    • Lorna Harris on March 18, 2014 at 22:01

      Also an old friend from public school with whom I’ve recently reconnected phoned out of the blue and invited me to an art exhibition – we had a great time!

  7. grace crawford on March 18, 2014 at 20:08

    My husband and I are blessed to have found a church family which offers us wonderful chances for friendship. Today, we went to a book club meeting after some absence andwere greeted with smiles and conversation which made me feel cherished. In this setting, I am made aware of the Divine Presence who dwells among us.

  8. Diane Sherwood on March 18, 2014 at 14:16

    This week many acts of friendship have occurred in both directions. Lunches with old friends, driving a friend to class, preparing for a friends birthday. My week has been full of friends.

  9. Deacon Susan in California on March 18, 2014 at 13:59

    Sounds like a lot of folks drive here and there to meet with people or spend considerable time and talent cooking. I think I may be more and more the one they are coming to visit and feed… I’ll listen and share a meal with you and be a good receiver of friendship.

  10. Laura on March 18, 2014 at 10:23

    For the past 2 weeks I’ve been taking care of a friend who had foot surgery and asked me to come and stay with her for a few days. She was such a joy to be with and take care of that I felt truly blessed to be able to help her. I’m not normally a good or natural caretaker, but this experience was such a gift to me.

  11. Marilyn Weir on March 18, 2014 at 09:25

    Calling a dear friend of mine who has been an earth angel to me for many years, most poignantly when I was seriously ill more than 10 years ago. He was the light that kept me going through a very challenging and frightening time. We know the other is always there to share, confide, laugh (or make laugh), and just be that always reliable friend through thick and thin. He’s my best friend.

  12. Tammy on March 18, 2014 at 09:14

    I went to the BMFA yesterday and it reminded me of the first time I visited it with a seminary friend 20 plus years ago. I bought a post card of one of the masterpieces we saw together for the first time and wrote her a note identifying all the firsts for us that trip and thanking her for her friendship all these years….It is such a gift to have people who have known you through all the changes and chances of this life.

  13. Kc on March 18, 2014 at 08:18

    I am very slow to take steps initiating friendships these days. I asked a woman to have lunch with me. She was a college mate that I had not seen or thought of in many decades. When I realized how easy it was to talk and how many things we mutually enjoyed I felt especially happy that I had reached out.

  14. Kc on March 18, 2014 at 08:03

    Trust that I am loved

  15. Ruth West on March 17, 2014 at 23:12

    I had a medical procedure today, and as I lay on the table, my nurse opened up to me re: her recent car wreck, and still has many physical problems as a result of it, which involved a drunk driver with no insurance. I was able to respond to her with a sincere big hug and a promise of prayers. A new friend in rather peculiar circumstances.
    Later this afternoon as I took a walk, the mother of my next-door neighbor came out to her car and introduced herself and invited me onto the porch for some conversation. I have been blessed twice and more with new friends today.

  16. David Twiggs on March 17, 2014 at 21:52

    Visiting friend’s father dying of cancer

  17. Vance on March 17, 2014 at 21:35

    As one who appreciates the subtle and understated, I believe the greatest indication of friendship is kindness…..a compliment, common courtesy to a stranger (or as someone mentioned, a person we’re not fond of), seeking someone’s opinion with sincerity. My husband and I frequently comment on how many friends and relatives only talk about themselves and never ask any questions of anyone else. My intention for this week (and hopefully longer) is to be more committed to practicing these concepts.

  18. Michael P on March 17, 2014 at 21:25

    My brother-in-law obtained a signed and personalized copy of Fr. James Martin’s book “Jesus: A Pilgrimage” and had it sent to me. The inscription from Fr. Martin was “Jesus loves you”–this was a wonderful expression of love and friendship to me!

  19. Gwendolyn on March 17, 2014 at 20:33

    Sometimes an act of friendship is to do nothing–to allow one to do a thing on their own until they ask for assistance. It’s really hard to not hover over someone who has recently suffered some kind of hurt in effort to keep them from repeating the hurt. But if a body is determined to be independent, then a true friend must let them. That true friend will, however, be right there whenever the call for help comes!

    Now, on the other hand, a friend might want to consider that his or her friends who are right there waiting to be called on, they need to be wanted and needed too. I imagine my friend Jesus walking alongside me, watching me make my unnecessary mistakes and muttering not quite under his breath, “Really, would it hurt you to ask for a little help once in a while?”

  20. Rob Schoeck on March 17, 2014 at 20:16

    Well, as the week is still young I have not had many opportunities to initiate or receive acts of friendship. However, I will be heading back to Boston tomorrow where I will be able to see my friends and family again. This will be the perfect opportunity to engage in random acts of friendship as I get to spend time with some of the most important people in my life. Though as I think about it, the act of friendship I have received is the five brothers who said yes to being by my side at my wedding. The fact that they are willing to make the commitment time and money, and also to travel across the country to be there for me is awesome. If that isn’t friendship, I don’t know what is.

  21. Win on March 17, 2014 at 19:59

    The family didn’t want a service at church, so I led a prayer service on Saturday at a local funeral home for a fellow parishioner who recently died. There were probably 50 or 60 people present who I did not know. It was so good to find a few friendly faces from church at this service, so I no longer felt so alone.

  22. Ross Bliss on March 17, 2014 at 19:44

    I get so caught up in being busy, I miss a lot of these opportunities.

  23. Julie Watt Faqir on March 17, 2014 at 17:35

    With the earthquake in my home town of Los Angeles today, I have felt so much friendship by reaching out to make sure that loved ones are ok and by their responses.

  24. John McWilliams on March 17, 2014 at 17:18

    over the weekend we had a visit from a long time friend and law school room mate who lives on the other side of the country – shared a lot including were we are spiritually – a good time

  25. LindaR on March 17, 2014 at 17:07

    I’d been worried that a very dear friend who no longer lives nearby might have been harmed by someone. A week ago today I finally found the courage to ask and to apologize for not having asked sooner. My friend called me while only half-way through reading my note, eager to set my mind at ease immediately. We had a long, intense, loving conversation and planned our next visit.

  26. MRM on March 17, 2014 at 15:52

    stopping to visit a dear one from a former job when I was in a meeting in her building; responding quickly and enthusiastically to an email from a friend who is about to start a new business; asking about the health, family and fun of colleagues I met with this morning. I am grateful for this question, as being a better friend is on my “to do” list as my life follows a bend in the road that presents opportunities for change.

  27. Kathryn on March 17, 2014 at 15:35

    I am blessed – my dear friends make space for me to grow. Thinking about my friendship with my creator as a beloved disciple casts a view on the topic that reinforces the notion that we love our friends through thick and thin!

  28. Evan Lassen on March 17, 2014 at 15:33

    Happy St Patty’s Day,

    Now that’s friendly !

    The Homily today is one that hits the proverbial “Nail on the Head” at least in my thinking.

    The friendship with Jesus is First, The decision he made available to us.( I took on my part of his offer when I made my Baptismal vows and then said, “With God’s help”.)

    It’s true, A friendship asks each party to help one another honor that relationship. Secondly, Jesus was so determined to keep his side of the agreement, that he bore the Cross of Crucifixion after previously reclaiming
    the Torah, The Temple and The Garments of Royalty,
    all symbols of Israel of which had been corrupted. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus assures those he loved were chosen to be the “New Israel” to proclaim the ” Kingdom of God” to the world, that his sacrifice recalled in the institution of his Body and Blood in the breaking of bread and in wine, thus consumed empowering his Friends to introduce him to everyone, all of us- Me and You as members of God’s Kingdom.
    Now it is for us to keep our side of this Friendship.

  29. John Okerman on March 17, 2014 at 15:23

    This morning I received a phone call from a USMC friend. We went through OCS and TBS together, served in Vietnam at the same time, and served together as senior officers at 4th LSB. Dick and his wife are planning to move to our area and he shared with me how important and good our friendship is both for us and for our spouses. I told him I agreed. This may be God telling both of us that we are close friends with a long history together and we should continue that friendship by living geographically close to each other. Until recently we had not seen each other for several years so we are now renewing a long time friendship.

    • Win on March 17, 2014 at 19:34

      It’s such a gift when old friends turn up again! Happy catching up!

  30. Marci on March 17, 2014 at 15:01

    I took dinner to a friend, single mom, who adopted a 9 month old baby from Barbados.

  31. Mary Caulfield on March 17, 2014 at 13:55

    A colleague is writing a recommendation for me in the midst of crazy deadlines – a very generous act.

    A student who has expressed a marked dislike for my teaching style has asked to meet with me. I’m choosing to see this request as a gesture of reconciliation; even if she has grievances, it’s better to be able to hear them in person.

  32. TM on March 17, 2014 at 13:55

    I made St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes and brought them to work…a big hit! I also took time to chat with someone at coffee hour yesterday at church, and found out much more about her.

    As far as receiving kindness, one of my students (who had had a hard time in class both academically and behaviorally today) stayed when everyone else dashed off to help put away the game we’d been using. That truly tells me who this boy is, not a test score or behavior sheet. 🙂

  33. Fontaine on March 17, 2014 at 13:18

    I try to send cards and communications to people. I am not good at visiting but I still try to keep in touch and prayers. The Cursillo Community is another way to reach out also.

  34. Barbara Harris on March 17, 2014 at 12:44

    I am learning to risk rejection when opening up to people I would not normally have opened up to before. The response has not been rejection but acceptance and friendship. I am learning!

  35. Ellen on March 17, 2014 at 11:23

    The thought of Jesus being my friend does not resonate. Yet. I am going to look for that idea to grow as I participate in imaginative prayer . A woman emailed me that she lost her job Friday. I suggested we get together for lunch, even though I have a million things to do today: people are more important than my “to do ” list. And, hmmm…I am important to Jesus.

    • Lisa on March 17, 2014 at 20:02

      Yesterday, I went on a long, snowy walk with a friend and her three dogs.
      She is going through a difficult patch and welcomes the chance to talk things out. Sometimes after the walk we eat lunch at a nearby restaurant. This time I begged off, having said that I needed to go home and “organize my life” (my million things to do). After making and eating a simple lunch, I happened to
      look at the clock. It showed me the exact time I would have been home had I eaten lunch with my friend.
      I think that Jesus was a friend to me in pointing out what my heart already
      “knew”: my friend’s companionship
      is more important to me than my need to “organizing my life”. Thank you for following your heart and going to lunch.
      You are a true com-panion (breaker of bread with another).

  36. Delia on March 17, 2014 at 11:18

    I’m going to my niece’s swim meet. Visiting with another friend. Having dinner with my brother. Calling a few friends. Going to an Al-Anon meeting.

  37. Casey on March 17, 2014 at 11:05

    First an observation: of the 20-ish posts, 17 called out how the writer had extended friendship. I think this links back to a topic from last week. We are so much more comfortable giving than receiving. Receiving creates vulnerability. This reminds me to tell both what I have done and what has been done for me. I will stay tuned to the “done for me” acts this week.

    My friend is taking my partner and I out for a celebration to thank us for some help rendered. We will sit back and purely enjoy her act of generosity.

    Social Media: I posted a lovely Pooh quote about friendship and touched several virtual friends who had been struggling this last month. Tomorrow we visit dear Janet who has recently lost her husband.

    • MRM on March 17, 2014 at 16:05

      You are so right! But the best part is that when I reflect on what has been given to me in friendship this week, it was from the individuals I identified as giving to. They both gave back to me, help and support with a health issue I am a bit confounded by. Their support makes it easier for me to do what needs to be done.

  38. Jane Anne Gleason on March 17, 2014 at 11:01

    This question reminds me of the ‘old ‘Girl Scout song:

    Make new friends but keep the old,
    One is silver and the other gold.

    Friendship is indeed a treasued to be keep and nurtured. I have a friend in God through Jesus.

    • Win on March 17, 2014 at 19:21

      You brought back memories!

  39. Liz on March 17, 2014 at 10:52

    Thinking of Jesus as friend is so different than what I perceived growing up, although one of my favorite hymns was/is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I’m working on it. I love the thought that the “beloved disciple” not being named means he/she is each one of us individually.

    • Melinda on March 17, 2014 at 13:00

      Yes yes! I too found this a warm, comforting thought.

    • Carole on March 18, 2014 at 06:46

      I’ve always wondered who was the disciple that Jesus loved and why he/she was not named. The idea that can read the scripture as “insert your name here” is both refreshing and comforting. This is a delightful and important concept that I can definitely build on. It exudes love.

      Yesterday, I was able to be a real friend to one of my brothers who came to me with an issue he wanted to sound out. I was able to listen and respond without being critical (for a change) and also make a suggestion that he responded to positively. This was a big break through for both of us and I like thinking of it as an act of friendship.

  40. Gwedhen Nicholas on March 17, 2014 at 10:41

    I wasn’t feeling well, and a friend rubbed my back in sympathy. This small act of kindness was such a help that it wasn’t small at all.

  41. Jenny Hall on March 17, 2014 at 10:24

    Sending cards of encouragement, seeing old friends , and sharing meals are some of the ways that
    I share the gift of friendship.

  42. Gloria Veltman on March 17, 2014 at 10:20

    I am not sure who was the initiator but yesterday helped cook a birhday dinner & afterwards got one of the god-children to help & loaded up the first load in the dish washer.

  43. Cush on March 17, 2014 at 10:11

    Due to some physical challenges I have had to rely on friends for rides, etc., in order to continue to be active in at least a limited way. I have received an outpouring of help and willingness to help and I feel very blessed, but I often feel that I am not giving enough to those I call friend and I need to remember that I am actually providing them with a way to be a friend — lots to think and pray about in this one.

    • Eva on March 18, 2014 at 06:39

      Yes! You are serving the times that you are on the receiving end.

  44. Michael Kolenick on March 17, 2014 at 09:55

    I believe that the gospels call us to extend the hand of friendship to all that we meet; especially those who don’t like us.

  45. CMAC on March 17, 2014 at 09:50

    About once a month I make a lunch for a small group of people suffering with schizophrenia. I try to make it relative to the month: last month Valentine’s day; tomorrow St. Patrick’s day. Probably April will be Easter. // After my husband died I started up a small group of old and newer friends for a monthly soup group. That too is tomorrow. The newer ones have become friends with one another.
    So. The question is, ‘Why am I bored. Gloomy. Struggle with my relationship with Jesus (not with God). Is it just that time of year when we have had such a bad winter. Everything is still grey and mounds of dirty snow line the streets?”
    cmac

    • MRM on March 17, 2014 at 16:00

      I know that this time of year often finds me feeling those same ways, even when there is little reason in my life to feel blue. So yes, I call it yearning for spring and needing Easter. I turn to Jesus in those moments as if he is sitting beside me, and ask him to lift me up, or show me light. Sometimes just asking does the trick.

      • Win on March 17, 2014 at 19:18

        Perhaps there is still some unfinished grieving? Love yourself well. You seem to be loving others very well indeed! Blessings

    • Kathy on March 18, 2014 at 00:09

      You sound like an incredibly giving person, filling others with the holiness of God’s love. Are you equally open to receiving His love through others? I’ve found it really important to keep a balance of giving and receiving – to keep refreshed and re-created. May God bless you and refresh you as you bring blessings to others.

  46. Derek N. on March 17, 2014 at 09:33

    I continue to check in on a dear friend who has undergone terrible crisis and is facing many challenges. The danger in this is to be over-attentive, to hover in an oppressive way. So I think another act of friendship here is to allow him his own space, agency, while continuing to be available—which also trusts the friendship and God’s hand in it. This week for example I will double the time between check-ins, initiating a new stage of trust.

    • Tami Sterling on March 17, 2014 at 12:32

      Very insightfull. You are a wonderful friend and given a true gift from God.

  47. Steve on March 17, 2014 at 09:24

    I checked in on a friend who has isolated himself for some unknown reason, and will continue to do so.

  48. Pam on March 17, 2014 at 09:13

    Offered to cover the cost of a conference registration for a deacon friend and his wife for whom it would be a stretch in their budget to attend.

  49. Gayle on March 17, 2014 at 09:04

    When someone reaches out to me as a friend I didn’t know I had, I’m very moved. Friendship is a holy gift. This happened to me yesterday in church.

  50. Steve Laskey on March 17, 2014 at 08:27

    I have made plans to have coffee with a different person each day this week just to get to know them better

  51. kc on March 17, 2014 at 07:51

    Had a dinner party with family and a couple of new friends

  52. larry j on March 17, 2014 at 07:50

    Listening to concerns of a dear friend as she struggles with family issues and receiving support and assistance from another dear friend for myself. The miracle of friendship is such a blessing!

  53. Jeri on March 17, 2014 at 07:27

    Spending time with friends and listening to their joys and challenges while being supportive plus having their support as we go through the week.

  54. Chris on March 17, 2014 at 07:27

    I spent time with a friend who not only my listened very attentively as I shared some current struggles but who freely opened up to me about challenges in her own life.

  55. Br. Stephen Francis Arnold, OSB on March 17, 2014 at 07:14

    God has given me more insight into my work as a Chaplain. This is the encouragement that I needed and it has strengthened my friendship with God.

  56. Christopher Epting on March 17, 2014 at 06:32

    I was able to send a book written by a friend of mine to another new friend because I feel that they are kindred spirits. So, perhaps I have made my two friends, friends of one another.

  57. Gina on March 17, 2014 at 06:28

    I spent yesterday afternoon making a large pot of soup which i will bring today to two people from church who are shut in. I will also be visiting another who is in hospital. I also had a friend over for tea last week and listened to her story and gave heir encouragement.

  58. Jim on March 17, 2014 at 06:12

    I think this question is a bit premature since it is only Monday but I think it can be seen as a call to initiate friendships as the week progresses. I am sure that God’s call to love can provide opportunities to give and receive “friendship” this week.

  59. Bob on March 17, 2014 at 04:21

    Went Popping round for a cup of tea, the boys playing football on the streets, fixing bicycles for each other, text skate park, and sharing that we have each grown out of.

    Our community is thriving, and thriving and care for each other.

    I’m sure this won’t always be the case, but at the moment we are doing very positive place.

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