John the Baptist points out that his cousin, Jesus, was the sacrificial lamb who was to be a substitute for us; to take our place by redeeming us by paying the penalty for our sin.
The suggested response for how to process that and thank him is simply to be his friend.
He calls us his friends in John 15:15.
It will begin with an invitation to abide with Him and move from him to the Bible. Jesus’ first words to us is not “repent” or “The Bible says,” but rather, “Come and see.”
Friendship with Jesus is seeing his humanity. That he is a real person like us, with body and soul, intelligence and will, like you and me and he has really big, Sacred Heart… You will get to know each other thanks to a warm, sincere, intimate and steady relationship.”2
In the Catholic book, “Jesus as Friend” the Opus Dei author writes, “listen to St. Augustine, who says: ‘I can be God’s friend if I so wish.”2
We have to be taught what it looks like.
Although young Samuel slept in the Temple near the Holy of Holies, which was the inner sanctum where God’s presence was, our First Reading, from 1 Samuel 3:7 says, “at that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD.” Samuel’s adopted Father, the priest Eli, had to tell him about the Lord.
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s mother taught her to be familiar with the Lord, telling Teresa, when she was eighteen years old leaving home to become a missionary, “Put your hand in His [Jesus’] hand, and walk alone with Him. [And, don’t worry. If you] walk ahead … you’ll look back [and] you will go back.”3
Consequently, “YOU CAN’T WALK WITH GOD HOLDING THE DEVIL’S HAND,” as author Selam Seyoum notes:
I walk like the world
I talk like the world
I dress like the world
I love the music of this world
I watch things that I shouldn’t watch
BUT….. I am still a Christian
I get drunk, I get high, I smoke and I party
I fornicate, I am promiscuous and have abortions if I must
I lie and I steal at times
I support and love the things that God hates
BUT….. I am still a Christian. 4
In a 2015 study, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that there is a stress-alleviating effect of hugging to protect one better from infection.”5
We hug Jesus, so to speak, in Holy Communion received worthily, and in Eucharistic Adoration. To receive Jesus with the proper dispositions in Holy Communion is to enter into a lifelong friendship with him, Pope Benedict XVI wrote. 6
Friendship with Jesus is interior; that is, it comes from within the mind and the heart, in union with him in your everyday work.
It does includes exterior things by us like giving alms, performing interior and exterior acts of self-denial for Jesus’ use to save souls. This is because “sharing” is a part of friendship; a friend not only “gives,” but also “receives.”
Be the Kind of Friend that Jesus is to you.
We can embrace the means of grace that friendship with Him is and imitate Jesus in dispensing the same grace to others. 7
1. David L. Bartlett, Come and see, The Christian Century, 1991, p 11
2. Salvatore Canals, Jesus as Friend, 1986
3. Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light
4. Tewahedo Orthodox Girl; YOU CAN’T WALK WITH GOD HOLDING THE DEVIL’S HAND!
5. Melissa Locker, Why Some People Hate Being Hugged, time.com, 09/04/2018
6. Friendship with Jesus Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion
7. Daniel Gachuki, Be the Kind of Friend that Jesus is to You; 02/21/23