From a Creighton Student's Perspective
February 25, 2011
Junior, Theology Major
When I first read the readings for today, I was somewhat confused as to why these passages were placed together. It seems as though there are many different issues being discussed, and the focus jumps from one reading to the next without much rhyme or reason. The first reading emphasizes the importance of finding a faithful friend. However, the theme quickly changes in the responsorial psalm as it asks for God to help us follow his commands. Finally, the Gospel seems to present Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce. While each reading does separately provide some important insight, I wondered what connections could be made that would be able to enhance my understanding of their meaning.
As I continued to think more and more about the passages, I discovered that by changing the order in which I read them, I was able to better see a link among them that I think allows us to more fully enter into the texts. By first looking at the responsorial psalm, we are able to encounter the main theme of the readings, as it proclaims, “Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands” (119:35a). We all have a desire to come closer to God, and the responsorial psalm expresses this desire by asking God to help us follow him. Through this psalm, we ask for greater understanding and knowledge because we want to share in his presence, but we often find ourselves not knowing how to serve him.
In response to our cry to come closer to God, God shows us through the other readings several ways in which we can better serve and follow him. The first reading reveals the importance of forming friendships throughout our faith journey and the need to choose these friends wisely. It shows us that our faith is a communal faith and is meant to be shared with others in order to sustain us. I know many times in my life, whether in school or in sports, I have thought, “I need to do this on my own in order to prove that I am strong enough to do it.” However, when it comes to our faith lives, I think our strength comes from sharing these lives with others. Our time spent with others allows us to experience and develop vital virtues such as love, hope, and faith, and it helps us to recognize our need for God’s help in our lives.
The readings recognize the spiritual importance of developing relationships with others, and they show how these life-giving friendships are best formed. We are called to find friends that will stay by our side at all times in order to help us on our path to serve God. Finally, the Gospel shows one of the most important friendships to be the union of a man and a woman in marriage. Because this relationship is so sacred and unifying, Jesus teaches that no human being can separate what God has brought together. Therefore, these readings serve as a wake-up call for us to strengthen our friendships with others because “a faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth” (Sirach 6:15).
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