I read an interesting article in KarmelImpuls, a three monthly magazine issued by the Belgian Discalced Carmelites. The article is written by Iny Driessen and goes under the title of “Judas, friend”, explaining that we usually describe him as the traitor, but that the last name that Jesus gave to Judas was friend. She goes on to explain what friend means in the bible.
God calls Abraham and Moses friends, because “they walk with the Lord”, i.e. to live with him and dedicate oneself to him. Proverbs tells us in 18:24 “There are friends who lead one to ruin, others are closer than a brother.” Especially Ecclesiasticus has plenty to say about friendship. Read in particular 6: 5-17, e.g. “A faithful friend is a sure shelter, whoever finds one has found a rare treasure. A faithful friend is something beyond price, there is no measuring his worth”.
I like especially the words of Blessed Titus Brandsma, who wrote in his prison cell before a picture of Jesus: “Dear Lord, when looking up to Thee, I see Thy loving eyes on me; Love overflows my humble heart, Knowing what faithful friend Thou art.” In John 15:15 Jesus himself tells his disciples “I shall not call you servants anymore, because a servant does not know his master’s business. I call you friends, because I have made know to you everything I have learnt from my Father. He says that to each one of us too!
Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.