Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

Bishop's Writings

Pautas de Actualización de Reencuentro Parroquial

May 13, 2021

Queridos amigos en el Ministerio, 

A medida que nos acercamos al Día de Pentecostés, doy gracias por su liderazgo y las formas en que el Espíritu Santo está soplando a través de nuestras congregaciones, guiándonos a todos a medida que nos adaptamos de manera creativa y nueva a la realidad en la que nos encontramos. Gracias por su fidelidad y valentía en perseverar durante todo el año pasado.

Por fin, todos podemos agradecer que los casos de COVID-19 siguen disminuyendo y, en respuesta, las autoridades locales están levantando las restricciones. La Alcaldesa Bowser, por ejemplo, ha anunciado recientemente que los límites de capacidad en los lugares de adoración en el Distrito se levantarán a partir del 21 de mayo, y estoy segura de que otras jurisdicciones pronto harán lo mismo, si aún no lo han hecho. De repente, parece que la reapertura está ocurriendo más rápido de lo que esperábamos.

Al comienzo de la pandemia, necesitaba imponer restricciones a nuestra capacidad de adorar y reunirnos, y aprecio mucho su fidelidad al cumplir con esas directrices. Ahora, a medida que aumenta el ritmo de reapertura, creo que es importante liberarles de esa expectativa.

En adelante, confío en que supervisen la orientación de las autoridades cívicas y ajusten sus prácticas en consecuencia. Aunque las autoridades cívicas no proporcionan orientación relacionada con nuestra vida de fe -- sirviendo comida y bebidas a la hora del café viene a la mente -- confío en su mejor juicio sobre lo que es correcto para su comunidad y la salud y el bienestar de su gente.

Permítanme ser más específica en algunas áreas:

ADORACIÓN 

Las parroquias ya no necesitan presentar un plan para el reencuentro, aunque estamos encantados de hablar con usted sobre sus planes. Envíe un correo electrónico al Canónigo Andrew Walter con sus preguntas. Los feligreses ya no necesitan firmar el Pacto para el reencuentro antes de asistir a la adoración, a menos que usted desee pedir eso de ellos.

Hay una restricción que permanece vigente por ahora en nuestra práctica sacramental. Hasta que tengamos más información, por favor absténgase de usar la copa y el pan común al compartir la Comunión. Las hostias de comunión son las mejores por el momento, como es la Comunión con un elemento y ofrecer vino a través de tazas individuales o de alguna otra manera que usted siente es seguro. Cuando aprendamos más de los funcionarios de salud, le asesoraremos más.

 

MÚSICA/CANTO

Todos hemos extrañado cantar, y las recientes directrices de los CDC nos dicen que cantar en interiores por personas totalmente vacunadas con máscaras es una actividad segura. Por lo tanto, cantar es una vez más permitido por coros y congregaciones, como usted se sienta más cómodo. Esta es una oportunidad para animar a los miembros del coro y a los feligreses a recibir la vacuna antes de regresar, ya que cuanto más personas estén vacunadas, más seguros estarán todos en la iglesia. También está dentro de su autoridad, o la de su ministerio de música, insistir en que todos los miembros del coro sean vacunados. Les recomiendo que lo hagan, pero déjelon a su discreción.

 

HORA DE CAFÉ/ COMIDA Y BEBIDAS

Además de cantar, no hemos podido reunirnos después de la iglesia para una conversación informal y reuniones sociales. La hora del café y otras actividades con alimentos y bebidas pueden reanudarse. Simplemente les animo a pensar cuidadosamente sobre cómo se sirven los alimentos y las bebidas, evitando las comidas compartidas y pasteles de hojas, donde muchas personas tocan los mismos alimentos y utensilios. Las alternativas más seguras son los artículos que se sirven individualmente.

CUIDADO PASTORAL

Por favor, sigan usando su mejor juicio cuando se trata de hacer visitas de cuidado pastoral en persona. Usted es la mejor persona para decidir cuándo una visita se puede hacer en persona con seguridad y cuándo una visita es mejor por teléfono o Zoom. Los ministros laicos de la Eucaristía capacitados pueden reanudar sus visitas, trayendo mucho consuelo a quienes lo necesitan.

Indudablemente, esta carta no cubrirá cada matiz o circunstancias de su ministerio, pero como dije anteriormente, confío en que usted use su mejor juicio para seguir las directrices cívicas y hacer lo que es mejor para su gente. A medida que las directrices cívicas continúan relajándose, por favor siéntase empoderados para reunirse como usted se siente correcto. 

Una vez más, gracias por su cuidadoso y valiente ministerio a lo largo de este largo y desafiante tiempo. Eres una inspiración para mí y para muchos.

Que sigamos experimentando una mayor libertad y salud para todas las personas. 

Fielmente, 

Obispa Mariann


I Call You Friends (Visitation Sermon)

May 09, 2021

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants* any longer, because the servant* does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. 
John 5:9-17

Let me begin by extending a warm Mother’s Day greeting to all mothers among us, and by giving thanks to God for your mothers, those who gave you the gift of life, and those who have loved you as a mother. If your mother has crossed over to greater life with God, with you, I honor her memory. If, as a mother, you are far from your children today, as I am, or if being a mother was something you wanted but were denied, I offer my prayers. Some of the kindest people in my life never had children themselves but they love others as deeply as they would their own children, and I give thanks for them, and this day, for you.  

As a personal aside, my own mother, who is nearly 90, has been living with us throughout the pandemic, and for Mother’s Day, my sister took all the old photographs of our mother as a young child and made a lovely hardcover photobook. All day yesterday, she pondered those photos taken of her with her mother from the 1930s. She’s grieving a lot right now, and the photos reminded her of the amazing arc of her life and those who nurtured her when she was just a babe. May we all have a sense of that today--the long line of people, generation to generation, who have given us life and loved us as best they could. 

I have been looking forward to this Sunday for some time, for the opportunity to worship with you, beloved of Christ Church, Rockville, to acknowledge what you have been through in the last few years, some of which was really hard, and to give thanks for your perseverance on this journey. The last time I was here in worship with you was when we celebrated the new ministry of the Rev. Lisa Zania, whom we had all hoped would be your spiritual leader for many years. For all sorts of reasons, that was not to be, which grieved her, I know. It grieved you, and it broke my heart as well. I saw Lisa the other day. She is doing well, back working for the federal government and she has started a house church for families with children who have mental or physical disabilities. She is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. 

I give thanks to God for the ministry of your two interim rectors, the Reverends Carole Cole Flannaghan and Meg Ingalls. They are quite a team, and they have told me how much they are enjoying their work among you--challenging as it has been through transition, the pandemic, and all matters to the congregation’s future. Thanks as well to your vestry leaders, church staff, and all who give so freely and love so generously, as Jesus himself exhorts us all to do.

It was great to see so many from Christ Church at Washington National Cathedral’s amphitheatre last weekend for the Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation of Faith service, and I’m delighted that we will continue to confirm and receive more of you today. Thank you for taking an important step in your life of faith. 

Let me remind you that in services like this none of us assumes you have everything figured out in terms of what you believe and what it means to live as a follower of Jesus. None of us does. I am 62 years old and a bishop, for heaven’s sake, and I’m still learning and growing. I still have moments of doubt and long stretches of struggle. Yet this I know: you and I can trust Jesus to be with us through everything, sometimes in ways that we can feel so powerfully and other times, we live, as they say, by faith and not by sight. We learn to trust in Him even when we don’t feel his presence. 

That’s how it is for all of us--and one of the gifts of Christian community is that we hold one another up; we rely on each other to carry us when our faith wanes, and we do the same when we can for others. Mostly we strive to care for each other in the way that Jesus spoke to his first disciples. “Strive to love one another as I have loved you.” 

I’m convinced that’s why Jesus spent so much time talking to his disciples about God’s love. He wanted them to know how deeply they were loved, but also how important their efforts to love others were, because it’s through human love that we most consistently experience God’s love. God works through us.  

We just heard a passage from the Gospel of John in which Jesus says over and over again, I need you to love one another as I have loved you. There’s an urgency to his words, because this is his last chance to speak to them before he dies, and he knows it. Think about that for a moment: what would you say to those you love if you knew it was the last chance you would speak to them on this side of heaven? 

One of the things he says, which catches me up short every time I read it, is that he calls his disciples his friends. He’s not speaking to them as a master would to a servant, or a teacher to a disciple (another word for student) but as friend to friend. I call you friends. You are my friends. 

As I asked those gathered for Confirmation last Saturday, I ask you, “Whom do you call friends?” 

Think about them--what is it about them that makes them your friend? What kind of friend are they? How did you meet them, what part of your life do you share with them? Do you consider them casual friends or what you might call a “good friend” or even a “best friend.” 

Think of the qualities and experiences that deepen friendship. Time, certainly; Shared experiences; Affection for one another. Common interests. 

Paradoxically, hurting one another and forgiving each other can deepen a friendship. Some friendships don’t survive the hurt, but those that do teach us the power of forgiveness and true reconciliation. 

One of the qualities of a deep friendship is that we know that our friend truly cares for us. It’s not about what we can do for them, or that we entertain them, or share common experiences. They simply care. They love us no matter what, and they have our best interest at heart always, and we theirs. This kind of friendship takes time and effort on our part to grow into the kind of person that can offer deep friendship as well as receive. It means becoming a person, as Jesus said, who learns to love others as God loves us.

Every morning, my mother either receives a phone call or makes a phone call to a person who has been her friend for decades. They started out as colleagues, working at the same hospital in New York City. They would sometimes meet in the city for dinner or a play, or visit one another in their homes. For years, theirs was a warm, yet casual work-based friendship. As they both aged, however, and retired from the work they shared, their friendship deepened. They haven’t seen each other for years, but every day they call one another to make sure the other is all right. This is the friend my mother pours her heart out to now, and her friend listens with unconditional love. 

There’s another kind of friendship that helps us understand what Jesus was offering his disciples on the night he called them his friends. Let me describe it by way of personal example. 

When I was a teenager, I was blessed to have several older adults in my life who meant the world to me. One was a teacher, another was the minister in my church, another was my aunt. These were the people I looked up to and admired. I learned from them, and I wanted to be like them someday. The two who were practicing Christians showed me what it looked like to live as one who loved Jesus and followed his example. 

And at some point in our relationship, they each said to me in one way or another, “I call you friend.” It was an acknowledgment that I had grown up, both in age and in my capacity for friendship. They knew that I wasn’t perfect and didn’t expect me to be, but they trusted me to care about the things they cared about, and the people they cared about.

Their acknowledgement of my friendship was and remains one of the great gifts of my life. I strive to be worthy of their friendship. And I think what Jesus was saying to his disciples by calling them his friends is that they, too, had grown in their capacity to love the people Jesus loved, and to care about the things he cared about. He trusted them to carry on after he was gone. 

What I want you to leave you with is an assurance that Jesus is your life-long friend, one who loves you, wants the best for you, delights in your company and all your accomplishments, and will always be with you, no matter what happens. 

The nature of friendship with Jesus will never be mutual in the sense that you and I are equals. But if we choose, we can grow in our relationship with him, as we do with friends who are farther down the road of life and wisdom and compassion, by learning from him, listening to him, and as he said to his first disciples that he called friends, by striving to love other people as he loves us and he loves them. 

This kind of friendship takes effort on our part, as does any friendship that we really care about. But it is so worth it, to grow in love and friendship with him. As I pray with and for each of you today, keep in your mind an image of Jesus as your friend who will always be there for you, and who invites you into a relationship of deep friendship. 

Here is something you might consider for the remainder of the month of May. Put something near your bed so that when you rise each day, you will be reminded that the Spirit of Jesus lives within you and is with you as your friend. What I’ve done is simply write the words “I call you friend,” on a notebook that I periodically use as a journal. 

It reminds me as I rise to take a moment to receive Jesus’ love and friendship, which helps me remember throughout the day that he is with me. What could you put by your bed to do the same? And then, at the end of each day, before you fall asleep, take a moment to hold the day’s events in light of Jesus’ love and friendship and ask what kind of friend you were.  

How might you live today, and all your tomorrows, if you dared to believe that Jesus was at your side, as your friend? How would you live today, and all your tomorrows, knowing that Jesus calls you his friend, and invites you to love other people the way that he loves you and he loves them? 

Remember that Jesus needs you, needs all of us. In the words of Teresa of Avila, Jesus has no physical body on this earth, but yours. Yours are the hands through which he works, yours are the feet with which he moves, yours are the eyes with which he looks upon this word with kindness and love. He sees you through us and invites you to see those around us with those same eyes of friendship and love. 


I Call You Friends

May 06, 2021

“I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.”
John 15:15

Should you worship in an Episcopal Church this Sunday, you will hear Jesus speak a word of friendship to his disciples. 

The context for this poignant exchange is their last meal together before his death. As recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus takes this opportunity to say the things he wants them to remember after he’s gone. He speaks not as master to a servant, or teacher to student, but as friend to friend. 

Whom do you call friends? 

We use the word to describe a wide array of relationships, ranging from the most casual to those of real depth. Jesus was being anything but casual with his disciples, and likewise, I invite you to think of those you would name as your friends in the deepest sense. 

One of the qualities of a deep friendship is that we know that our friends truly care for us. While our relationship might have begun through mutual interest or shared experience, over time external factors matter less. Our friendship doesn’t depend on what we can do for them, how we entertain them, or the common space we share. They simply care about us, and have our best interest at heart.  

Paradoxically, one of the ways a friendship grows is through the inevitable experiences of hurting one another. Not all friendships survive that crucible, but those that do teach us the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

This kind of friendship takes time and effort on our part, as we grow into the kind of person that can offer as well as receive the gift of our full humanity. It guides us along the path of becoming someone, as Jesus said, that learns to love others as He loves us.

When I was a teenager, I was blessed to have several adults in my life who meant the world to me. One was a teacher, another was the minister in my church, still another a beloved aunt. They were the kind of people I hoped to be like someday. They showed me, by their example, what it meant to live as someone who loves and follows Jesus. 

And at some point in our relationship, each of them said to me in their own way, “I call you friend.” It was an acknowledgement that I had grown, both in age and in my capacity for friendship. They now trusted me to care about the things they cared about, and to love the people they loved. They knew I wasn’t perfect and didn’t expect me to be. Nor was our friendship completely mutual, in that they would always be further down the path of life and faith than I. Nonetheless, their friendship remains one of the great gifts of my life. To this day, I strive to be worthy of it.  

These are the friendships that come to mind when I hear Jesus’ say to his disciples, “I call you friends.” He had shared with them everything he had heard from the Father. They had shared life together, and he watched them grow in their capacity to love. No, they were not perfect. One would yet deny him and another would betray him. Still he held out to them the invitation of friendship--a relationship that could endure what we are capable of doing to those closest to us, as we learn to grow in love. 

Consider the astonishing possibility that Jesus offers us the gift of his friendship. 

He is far more than a friend, and yet, as our friend, he loves us, no matter what, cares for us for our own sake, and delights in our company. The nature of our friendship with Jesus will never be mutual, yet we can grow in friendship with him, by learning from him and, as he said to the first disciples he called friends, by striving to love other people as he loves us and he loves them. This is the promise, and the call, of the Christian life. 

I leave you with an invitation. For the remainder of this month, put something near your bed so that when you wake up, you will be reminded that Jesus greets you as his friend. Take a moment to receive his friendship, and then rise to live your day knowing that he is with you. Each night before you fall asleep, take a moment to hold the day’s events in light of Jesus’ friendship and ask what kind of friend you were. I will do the same.

I wonder how might we live today, and all our tomorrows, if we dared to believe that Jesus was at our side, as our friend. Even more, that he calls us his friends, and counts on us to love other people as he loves us and loves them. 

And at the end of May, if you’d like to reflect on what, if anything, shifted in your awareness as a result of this daily reflection, I’d love to hear from you. We can be friends to one another. 


Los llamo mis amigos

May 06, 2021

“Ya no los llamo siervos, porque el siervo no sabe lo que hace su amo. Los llamo mis amigos, porque les he dado a conocer todo lo que mi Padre me ha dicho.”
Juan 15:15

Si ustedes adoran en una Iglesia Episcopal este domingo, escucharán a Jesús hablar una palabra de amistad a sus discípulos. 

El contexto de este conmovedor intercambio es su última comida juntos antes de su muerte. Como está registrado en el Evangelio de Juan, Jesús aprovecha esta oportunidad para decir las cosas que quiere que recuerden después de que se haya ido. Él no habla como maestro a un siervo, o maestro a un estudiante, sino de amigo a amigo.

¿A quién llamas amigos? 

Utilizamos la palabra para describir una amplia gama de relaciones, que van desde las más casuales hasta las más profundas. Jesús estaba siendo algo menos casual con sus discípulos, y de la misma manera, los invito a pensar en aquellos a los que ustedes llaman sus amigos en el sentido más profundo.

Una de las cualidades de una amistad profunda es que sabemos que nuestros amigos realmente nos cuidan. Mientras que nuestra relación pudo haber comenzado a través del interés mutuo o de la experiencia compartida, con el tiempo los factores externos importan menos. Nuestra amistad no depende de lo que podamos hacer por ellos, de cómo los entretenemos o del espacio común que compartimos. Simplemente se preocupan por nosotros, y tienen nuestro mejor interés en el corazón.

Paradójicamente, una de las maneras en que crece la amistad es a través de las experiencias inevitables de lastimarse mutuamente. No todas las amistades sobreviven a ese crisol, sino aquellas que sí nos enseñan el poder del perdón y la reconciliación. 

Este tipo de amistad toma tiempo y esfuerzo de nuestra parte, a medida que crecemos en el tipo de persona que puede ofrecer y recibir el regalo de nuestra humanidad plena. Nos guía a lo largo del camino de convertirnos en alguien, como dijo Jesús, que aprende a amar a otros como Él nos ama.

Cuando era adolescente, tuve la bendición de tener varios adultos en mi vida que significaban el mundo para mí. Uno era mi maestro, otro era ministro en mi iglesia, otra era una tía querida. Eran la clase de gente que yo esperaba ser algún día. Me mostraron, a través de su ejemplo, lo que significa vivir como alguien que ama y sigue a Jesús.

Y en algún momento de nuestra relación, cada uno de ellos me dijo a su manera: “Te llamo mi amiga”. Esto fue un reconocimiento que creció, tanto en edad como en mi capacidad de amistad. Ahora confiaban en mí para cuidar de las cosas que les importaban, y para amar a la gente que amaban. Sabían que no era perfecta y no esperaban que fuera. Nuestra amistad tampoco era completamente mutua, en el sentido de que siempre estarían más lejos en el camino de la vida y la fe que yo. Sin embargo, su amistad sigue siendo uno de los regalos más grandes en mi vida. Hasta el día de hoy, me esfuerzo por ser digna de esa amistad.

Estas son las amistades que me vienen a la mente cuando escucho a Jesús decir a sus discípulos: “Los llamo mis amigos”. Él había compartido con ellos todo lo que había oído del Padre. Ellos habían compartido una vida juntos, y él los vio crecer en su capacidad de amar. No, no eran perfectos. Uno lo negaría y otro lo traicionaría. Sin embargo, Él les ofreció la invitación de la amistad, una relación que podría soportar lo que somos capaces de hacer con los más cercanos a nosotros, mientras aprendemos a crecer en el amor. 

Consideremos la asombrosa posibilidad de que Jesús nos ofrece el don de su amistad. 

Es mucho más que un amigo y, sin embargo, como nuestro amigo, nos ama y no importando que suceda, cuida de nosotros por nuestro propio bien, y se deleita en nuestra compañía. La naturaleza de nuestra amistad con Jesús nunca será mutua, sin embargo, podemos crecer en amistad con Él, aprendiendo de Él y, como dijo a los primeros discípulos que llamó amigos, esforzándonos por amar a otras personas como Él nos ama. Y Él los ama. Esta es su promesa, y el llamado de una vida cristiana.

Los dejo con una invitación. Durante el resto de este mes, pon algo cerca de tu cama para que cuando despiertes, te recuerde que Jesús te saluda como tu amigo. Tómate un momento para recibir su amistad, y luego levántate para vivir tu día sabiendo que él está contigo. Cada noche antes de dormirte, tómate un momento para celebrar los acontecimientos del día, a la luz de la amistad de Jesús y pregúntate qué clase de amigo eres. Haré lo mismo.

Me pregunto cómo podríamos vivir hoy, y todas nuestras mañanas, si nos atrevemos a creer que Jesús está a nuestro lado, como nuestro amigo. Aún más, que Él nos llama sus amigos, y cuenta con nosotros para amar a otras personas como Él nos ama y los ama.

Y para finales de mayo, reflexionar sobre lo que, quizás, cambió en tu conciencia como resultado de esta reflexión diaria. Me encantará escuchar de ti. Podemos ser amigos unos con otros.


I Call You Friends - Homily for Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation Services

May 01, 2021

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants* any longer, because the servant* does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. 
John 5:9-17

I’d like to speak to you today about friendship. 

We just listened to a reading from the Bible in which Jesus speaks to his disciples about friendship. They are gathered together for a meal, the last meal they will share before Jesus’ death, and he wants them to know that he doesn’t think of them as his servants, or even as his disciples (another word for student) anymore. He thinks of them as his friends. 

“I call you friends,” he says to them.

 I’ll get back to Jesus in a moment, but first let me ask: 

Whom do you call friends? To whom are you a friend?

As soon as someone comes into your mind that you consider your friend, raise your hand. 

What is it about them that makes them your friend? What kind of friend are they? How did you meet them, what part of your life do you share with them? Do you consider them casual friends or what you might call a “good friend” or even a “best friend.” 

What are the experiences that deepen friendship?

Time, certainly.

Shared experiences. 

Common interests.

Paradoxically, hurting one another can deepen a friendship. Some friendships don’t survive the hurt, but those that do teach us the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

One of the qualities of a deep friendship is that we know that our friend truly cares for us. It’s about not about what we can do for them, how we entertain them, the things we do together. They simply care, and they have our best interest at heart. And we for them. 

This kind of friendship takes time and effort on our part. We need to grow into the kind of person that can offer as well as receive the gift of our full humanity. It puts us on the journey of becoming a person, as Jesus said, that learns to love others as God loves us.

I’d like to tell you about a particular kind of friendship that helped me to grow in love. 

When I was a teenager, I was blessed to have several older adults in my life who meant the world to me. One was a teacher, another was the minister in my church, another was a beloved aunt. I looked up to them, admired them, and learned from them. They were the kind of people that I hoped to be like someday. They showed me what it meant to live as someone who loved Jesus and dedicated their life to following his teaching and example. 

And at some point in our relationship, they each said to me in one way or another, “I call you friend,” as an acknowledgment that I had grown up, both in age and in my capacity for friendship. They trusted me to care about the things they cared about, and the people they cared about. They knew that I wasn’t perfect and didn’t expect me to be, but nonetheless our relationship had become more mutual--not completely so, for they were always farther along the path of life and faith. Yet their acknowledgement of my friendship was and remains one of the great gifts of my life. I strive to be worthy of their friendship.

Those are the relationships that come to mind when I think of Jesus saying to his disciples, “I call you friends.” They have been together for years, and he shared everything with them. They are not perfect and their relationship isn’t completely mutual, but Jesus is signalling a change because they have changed. They have grown in their capacity to love.   

What I want you to leave with is an assurance that Jesus is your life-long friend, who loves you for who you are and will always be with you, no matter what happens. He delights in your company, and wants what is best for you. Now is more than your friend, far more. But friendship is what he longs for--a deep relationship rooted in affection and common understanding of what matters most in life.

If we choose, we can grow in our relationship with Him, as we do with friends who are farther down the road of life and wisdom and compassion, by learning from him, listening to him, and as he said to his first disciples that he called friends, by striving to love other people as he love us and he loves them. 

It’s a great thing, truly. It does take effort on our part, as does any friendship that we really care about. I hope you know that Confirmation isn’t the end of your learning and growing in faith, but a new beginning, a new invitation to accept the friendship Jesus offers you and invites you into a life informed by his teachings, values, and presence in your life. 

As I pray with and for each of you today, keep in your mind an image of Jesus as your friend who will always be there for you, and who invites you into a relationship of deep friendship. 

Here is my invitation and my challenge to all those being confirmed, received or reaffirming your faith, and all standing at your side.  

For the month of May, put something near your bed so that when you rise each day, you will be reminded that the Spirit of Jesus lives within you and is with you as your friend.

Take a moment to receive his love and friendship, and then rise to live your day knowing that he is with you. And at the end of each day, before you fall asleep, take a moment to hold the day’s events in light of Jesus’ love and friendship and ask what kind of friend you were.  

How might you live today, and all your tomorrows, if you dared to believe that Jesus was at your side, as your friend? How would you live today, and all your tomorrows, knowing that Jesus calls you his friend, and invites you to love other people the way that he loves you and he loves them? 

I will do the same, And at the end of May, if you’d like to reflect together on what, if anything shifted in our awareness or experiences as a result, I’d love to hear from you.

We can be friends to one another. 

Remember that Jesus needs you, needs all of us. In the words of Teresa of Avila, Jesus has no physical body on this earth but yours. Yours are the hands through which he works, yours are the feet with which he moves, yours are the eyes with which he looks upon this word with kindness and love. He sees you through those us and invites you to see those around us with those same eyes of friendship and love. 


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