Mk 10:1-12 A Big Word: Promise
“Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant.” (Sir 6:7)
A few years back, while I was in the seminary, one of my superiors was giving a talk about friendships. It was a casual conversation. He was speaking to about one hundred seminarians. We had just finished dinner and it was an open mic opportunity so we asked him questions. He was a well known priest, very busy, very visible, and very much trusted and greatly appreciated by the community in large. Then someone, a seminarian, asked him a question. “Fr, how many friends do you have?” His response has forever been in my heart and mind. I expected him to say something like “many”, or “thousands.” He thought about it for a while. Then, he sheepishly answered, “One. Maybe two…” I don’t know why, but his answer shocked me. I should have known better. I was naïve.
“He who finds one friend finds a treasure.” (Sir 6:16) This is definitely true and definitely something to remember. How true and how sad it is. Why? Why is it so hard to find a friend, a true friend, a faithful friend, a loving and honest friend? You know, someone that will stand by you through the good times and the bad, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health? Yes, you know the answer already. It is the reason for so many of our ills, seen and unseen, hidden and revealed. It is because we all suffer from sin, and sin inherently leads to doubt and confusion which leads to misunderstandings and misgivings, self-preservation and selfishness at all costs and beyond all imagining. “What’s in it for me?” is a good way to sum up the obstacles in friendship.
Recently, I cancelled a talk I was supposed to give because very few people were going to attend. I wasn't going to waste my time and do it, so I bailed. I found out yesterday that another priest filled in my spot. Another good lesson learned I suppose. It seems like I learn good lessons on a daily basis and yet fail to learn them well.
What is the greatest cure for such sins? To make and keep our promises at all cost.
The Lord never broke his promises. Neither should we. For this reason, and for only this reason, Noah built his Ark; Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only beloved son and Moses lead his people out of Egypt. That’s why David became King, the prophets said what they said and did what they did and John the Baptist went out into the desert and stood his ground and met his death. That’s why the Apostles followed Christ, imitated Him and died for Him. God never breaks his promises, regardless of how bad things get or how dark they appear. The Lord stand firm forever no matter how angry people get or what people say. This is very comforting to know.
A promise is what keeps us trustworthy. We all struggle with keeping our promises and being faithful to our words and actions.
It is obvious to ask the questions: Why should I trust so much in God? Why should I go the extra mile? Why should I never give up? Why should I always choose what is true, good and beautiful? Why should I pray for my enemy? Why should I care about my enemy? Why should I love my enemy? The answer is simple: Christ keeps his promises.
“I am with you always.” “I will not leave you orphans.” “I will be with you till the end of time.” “Everything I have, I give to you.” “I will lay down my life for you.” “I will send you my Spirit.” “I will be your God and you will be my people.” “I will give you all that you need.” “I will be your Rock, your Fortress, and your friend.”
The Old Testament is reactive. The New Testament is proactive. The Lord taught his followers that they may never find a good friend, but they can be a good friend to others. How? By being faithful to His word and living according to His word.
Today, I will walk the talk, seeking nothing in return.