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The Friendship of God

Wednesday after the Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Friendship of God

His sisters sent to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. (John 11:3)

Here are three things to consider:

First, we see that the friends of God are sometimes afflicted with bodily illness; thus, if someone has a bodily illness, this is not a sign that the person is not a friend of God. Eliphaz mistakenly argued against Job that it was: think now, who that was innocent every perished? Or where were the upright cut off? (Job 4:7). Accordingly, they say, 'Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick'. For the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Prov 3:12).

The second thing to note is that his sisters do not say, Lord, come and heal him, but simply to mention his sickness, he is ill. This indicates that it is enough merely to state one’s need to a friend, without adding a request. For a friend, since he wills the good of his friend as his own good, is just as interested in warding off harm from his friends as he is in warding it off from himself. And this is especially true of the one who most truly loves: the Lord preserves all who love him (Ps 145:20).

The third thing to consider is that these two sisters, who wanted the cure of their sick brother, did not come in person to Christ, as did the paralytic (Luke 5:18), and the centurion (Matt 8:5). This was because of the confidence they had in Christ due to the special love and friendship which he had shown for them; or, perhaps it was their grief that kept them away: a friend, if he is steadfast, will be to you as yourself (Sir 6:11).

(Commentary on the Gospel according to St John, C11.L1)

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