March 11, 2022

Be Our Guest / Mike O’Connell

Mom was right: Jesus is my best friend

Growing up in a conservative Catholic family, I always saw Jesus as very demanding. If I broke one of his rules or laws, well, then he was going to judge and condemn me. This created much fear and anxiety for me. So I would attend Mass on Sunday and all holy days of obligation.

Fast forward through the years after living life, seeing suffering, reversals and difficulties with all their ups and downs. I soon discovered that this Jesus wasn’t a dominating, judging and condemning God. I discovered that he would become my best friend.

I often heard my mother throughout her life say, “Remember, God is your best friend,” but I never really thought much about that comment.

Jesus tells us in the Bible, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. … I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn 15:13, 15).

Also, the Book of Proverbs states, “There are friends who bring ruin, but there are true friends more loyal than a brother” (Prv 18:24).

Once you see what a true friend really offers, you will realize that no one could be closer as a friend than Jesus, God-made-man. Your life will truly change for the better, and you will experience true happiness.

What does Jesus offer in true friendship? He truly loves you unconditionally, accepting you with all your faults. He is always there to listen to you, no matter the topic. Jesus is truly non-judgmental. He is always honest and will always be there for you when others denounce you. Jesus always wants the best for you.

How can you become best friends with Jesus? The first step is knowing him. You can’t love or be friends with someone unless you know who they are and what they believe and stand for. Scripture is one way to know him. St. Jerome once said that ignorance of the word is ignorance of Jesus.

Another way to become best friends with Jesus is to obey his commandments and to avoid sin. Sin separates us from our Creator. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn 15:14).

To become friends with Jesus, follow the examples that he gave us while here on this Earth. Be merciful, love your neighbor, be forgiving, seek always to serve others, be grateful, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick.

Also, keep the Blessed Mother in your life. Pray to her, walk with her and imitate her ways.

Finally, remember to pray often, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

I guess my mother was right after all these years—Jesus is our best friend.

(Mike O’Connell is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington.)

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