Some American friends told me about a children’s book of prose by P. K. Halliman entitled: That’s What a Friend Is. In the book a friend is described as “a sidekick who will sit by your side to make you feel better when you are troubled inside.” And “A friend is a listener who will always be there when you’ve got a big secret you just have to share.” The book goes on with more statements like these, showing that friendship is all about companionship, fidelity, and loyalty.
Today we recall one of the most faithful and constant friendships in the early Church: the one between St. Luke and St. Paul. They were real friends who shared their belief in Christ with each other, and with everyone they met.
St. Luke was an educated man: a doctor and an artist, he was also an excellent listener. Imagine the years he spent with those first disciples who actually knew Our Lord. Not having been a witness himself to Our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection, Luke paid careful attention to what the others told him, trying to find just the right way to write about Our Lord and the salvation he won for us.
But Luke was more than an author. He was also a missionary and a pastor—two other roles that call for careful listening—and he had a great capacity for friendship. You see Luke’s true heart in the fact that he was with Paul throughout his missionary journeys, sharing all the hardships and challenges with his friend. And then, when Paul was imprisoned for two years in Rome, Luke was the only one who remained with him, offering him the encouragement and companionship he needed.
Today, let us remember and pray for our own friends, especially the friends who have been faithful to us through thick and thin. Let us thank God for them, because Scripture tells us that a faithful friend is a priceless treasure—nothing less than a gift from God himself. (Sirach 6:15)