You are who your friends are. This is a saying that is tattooed on my heart. My mother said it to us so many times growing up, I now find myself saying it to my own children. You are who your friends are! Research shows we become most like the five people we spend the most time with. In other words, choose carefully. I believe this is what Jesus is telling us in today’s gospel. Choose your friends wisely. Choose friends you aspire to be like. Choose friends with great qualities of virtue and holiness.
For all the terrible things social media offers, there is something to be said about the inspiring quotes and stories about friendship. A dear friend and I send each other encouraging messages about friendship and it is a highlight of the week. A recent one from the Wisdom Feed Ministry said, “In Mark 2, Jesus healed a paralyzed man because of his FRIENDS’ faith. This is why your circle matters.”
Your circle matters. The people around you are either leading you towards Jesus or away from Jesus. This is not to say that we should not also be lifting up others, evangelizing the Word, and aiding the conversion of the faithless. We should be doing all of these things too! There is, however, a difference between a friend and an acquaintance. And it is important to know the difference.
He takes it a step further and talks about wealth and material goods. I believe the message here is to use what is given to you wisely, as well. When I was a child and wanted the latest “thing,” my grandmother would ask if it was a want or a need. Mom would follow up with, “you can’t take it with you (when you die).”
Truthfully, it frustrated me to hear these words because they convicted me of my unreasonable desire for material things I did not need. As an adult, I wonder if mom and grandma were bible scholars planting ardent seeds in my fickle heart.
Speaking of hearts, God knows your heart. He, and He alone knows. If you are struggling in either or both of these areas, ask Him to help you. Afterall, He should be your closest and most trusted friend.