The Lord Is My Chef Quiet Storm, 01 March 2019
I have been dreaming of former classmates lately. Last Tuesday night I dreamt of a classmate in high school seminary now a priest but have not seen in months. Later that day I met another classmate, told him of my dream, and inquired about him. Unfortunately, he has not seen him too for so long though he presumed he must be doing well in the ministry.
Thursday morning upon waking up, I was thinking hard for the possible meaning of another dream I had the night before about my two seatmates in elementary school. Two dreams in a row about three good, old friends very much still alive but have not seen for so long. And how ironic that until now, I have not reached out to them personally or through the many social media platforms available except for a Facebook post that Thursday morning for a possible explanation about my two dreams!
That is the great irony – or, tragedy of our time when we have all modern means of communications that include extensive road networks and yet we could not even get in touch with those people dear to us. See the simplicity of Jesus Christ in calling us his friends: on the night he was betrayed during supper, he told his disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command you (i.e., love one another). I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn.15:14,15).
Jesus does not need to dial numbers, text SMS, compose emails, or send invitations in Facebook to become friends with us. Jesus simply reveals to us in the most personal manner everything the Father wants to tell us and right away, we are already friends! Of course, it would be difficult to enumerate everything that the Father had told Jesus to relay to us but the greatest of these is the fact that God loves us very, very much. Period.
That is the greatest thing Jesus had achieved in his coming to us by bringing God closest to us by speaking straight to us by himself of his love, his mercy, his forgiveness, and his plans for us. That is one of the great joys of friendship when we talk straight, speak our hearts out freely to our friends without any fears of being rejected or misunderstood. There is always that sense of respect for the other person as a subject to be loved and cherished, not an object to be possessed and used like tools and gadgets.
In our mass-mediated culture, expressing our true feelings to our friends have become more complicated as we become less personal in our relationships. How I hate it when some people would always invite me for breakfast or lunch in some expensive restaurants or hotels only to ask some special favors after the meal that I feel like throwing out the food I have ingested! It is not social grace to treat people to fine dining or gift them with expensive or special things only to ask for some favors in the end. That is corruption or bribery. Simply put, it is lack of respect especially if done by people we regard as friends.
Going back to that Last Supper scene with Jesus Christ when he called us his friends, notice the word “friend”: there is only one letter that makes the difference to make it mean exactly the opposite, “fiend”. It is the letter “r” that stands for respect, from two Latin terms that literally mean “to look again”. To respect is to look again at another human as a person with equal dignity as yourself. Respect is the starting point of love that cannot exist in any situation where there is inequality or feelings of superiority over another person.
Our words coming from our hearts are some of the most wonderful things that create true and lasting friendships. The rest are the actions expressed when these words run out.