Q — I understand this question may seem trivial, but when the Lord was a child, did he have any friends? Or was he more of a loner? The reason I am asking this question is because recently I began writing a script for a graphic novel that will depict the Lord between when he was found in the temple at age 12 to when he began his public ministry at the age of 30. I want to portray the Lord as accurately and realistically as possible.

A — I don’t think your question is trivial at all. Traditional Christian belief — and not just Catholic belief — is that Jesus is as divine as the Father, though he is not the Father, and that he is as human as we are, but without sin. Historically speaking, the canonical Gospels of the New Testament offer us no information at all — apart from the finding of the child Jesus in the Temple in St. Luke’s Gospel — about the childhood or adolescence of Jesus. The earliest Christian writers were far more interested in the resurrection of Jesus than in detailed biographical accounts of his early life. But if Jesus is as human as we are, then he must’ve had friends.

To be human is to know friendship and to have friends. Growing up in Nazareth as he did, undoubtedly he would have played with other Jewish children in the village. Solid and deep friendships help to shape and form us as adults.

From a human point of view Jesus must have been a most attractive man, someone in whom one would have wished to confide and in whom to place one’s trust. We recognize in the Gospels his adult friendship with the Twelve and with the other disciples.

We also recognize in the Gospels, especially the Gospel of St. Luke, that he had women friends who supported him and the apostolic band as they went around preaching the good news of the kingdom.

One thinks, for example, of Mary Magdalene. Jesus had a great capacity for genuine and lasting friendship.