Thursday, August 31, 2017

Freedom and Friendship in Christ

Several very simple but supportive gestures of solidarity experienced in recent months have led me to ponder once again with gratitude the tremendous grace that is Christian friendship. 

This unique kind of friendship is founded on a unique kind of sharing of life, which St. Paul calls koinonia, and which we translate as "communion"—it is the communion of life in Christ, from its transcendent center to its many particular expressions. Because it really is a participation in God's love in Christ, this communion is not—in itself and by its own proper character—anything like a conformist imposition or an invasive smothering of the person (and insofar as we drift into this sort of reductionism in our living out of relationships with one another, we are not being true to the koinonia of Christian friendship). Our communion in Christ is a unity-in-diversity of persons; it is an interpersonal environment in which the special vocation of each person is discovered and flourishes. 

Since the person discovers his or herself and realizes his or her freedom through self-giving love, there is always a reciprocal relationship between the authentic realization of personal freedom and the building up of communion. 

Communion and liberation. They are inseparable. Thus Jesus Christ, who creates the definitive communion of life, fulfills the destiny of the human person and the human community.