"I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father." John 15:15.
I was thinking about this verse this Lenten season. Am I Jesus's friend? He wants us to be his friends but too many times, especially in Western Society, we confuse Jesus's desire for friendship with our syrupy definition of being friendly.
I think this is how we end up with pro-choice Catholics who present themselves for communion and claim partisanship on the part of those who want enforcement of Canon 915. These friendly types think: "Hey, Jesus said He wants to be my friend, so I should be able to share communion with all His friends and everyone who want me disinvited is against Jesus's friendliness."
But is this true? Cicero reminds us that: "Now friendship may be thus defined: a complete accord on all subjects human and divine, joined with mutual goodwill and affection." Cicero, On Friendship, Paragraph 17.
Can those who are pro-choice Catholic's truly say that are on complete accord with Jesus the Lord, "on all subjects human and divine" when they reject his teaching on the sacredness of human life from conception until natural death that is found in His Church? I think not.
Indeed, can anyone who hold Catholic teaching call any pro-choice person his friend and Jesus his friend at the same time? The answer is no. Which is why the invitation to honor President Obama at Notre Dame is a disgrace. The current President is no friend of Jesus because Obama is not in accord with Christ on Life. Indeed, President Obama is hostile to Christ's teaching on life.
At this point some may object: But President Obama says he is a Christian and wants to have middle ground by reducing abortions. I respond that first of all, wanting to reduce abortions should never be discussed in terms of "middle ground," not wanting babies to be killed is the minimal amount of decency we should expect in society. Second, I would like to offer a warning from Scripture on false friendship:
"Every friend declares his friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only. Is it not a sorrow unto death when your bosom companion becomes your enemy? "Alas, my companion! Why were you created to blanket the earth with deceit?" A false friend will share your joys, but in time of trouble he stands afar off. A true friend will fight with you against the foe, against your enemies he will be your shield-bearer. Forget not your comrade during the battle, and neglect him not when you distribute your spoils."
Despite President Obama's declaration of friendship he does not stand with us against the foe of Life and human dignity. He subsidizes the foes of human dignity, by paying for abortions and embryonic destruction and attacking human conscience.
We cannot be friends with Obama and friends with Christ, we must choose, one or the other. However, does this mean we must despise Obama? No! Christ teaches us that we must love our enemies as our neighbors, but that doesn't mean our enemies are our friends.
We must defeat the President and his followers at every turn, we must pray for their conversion, we must preach the Gospel to them both in season and out and finally we must find a way to work with them when we must to advance our goals and never advance theirs.
However, we must never honor our enemies and those who act as enemies of Christ, with honorary degrees or otherwise.
How must we proceed? Might I humbly suggest a reflection for each of us as we begin the journey of taking our country back for God:
"Most important of all, pray to God to set your feet in the path of truth." Sirach 37:15.