Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Many years ago I was reminiscing with a married couple who are close friends about how our relationship began. I recalled that they had invited me to dinner after Mass one Sunday at our parish. Their version: I had stopped to talk to them and said we ought to get together.
Laughing over our contrasting memories, my friends and I decided to leave the origins of our friendship ambiguous. Who chose whom? Does it really matter?
In today’s Gospel, it does matter who’s doing the choosing! At the Last Supper, Jesus shares some intimate sentiments with his disciples. “I have called you friends,” he insists, “it was I who chose you.” Those words—which any one of us would welcome coming from someone famous, attractive or interesting—come from the Word made Flesh, God-with-us. In a few simple sentences Jesus confers on his followers a wondrous dignity. As friends of Jesus, they are invited into an intimacy with God! That intimacy can be ours as well.
In prayer we relate to God with the intimate friendship described by Jesus. We come to prayer with all the confidence that good friends bring to a relationship. God offers us the patient, supportive listening of an understanding friend. In the peace that flows from such prayer comes the fruitful response Jesus asks of us in today’s Gospel.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48), what was the big deal about Peter entering the house of Cornelius?
Peter spoke saying: “I see that God shows no partiality.” What led Peter to say that?
According to this week’s second reading (1 Jn 4:7-10), John urges his readers saying: “Let us love one another, because love is of God.” What does John say to prove his point?
In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: “This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you.” What did Jesus do that proved his love for us all?
Jesus called his disciples “friends.” Do you feel like Jesus is your friend?
Find a way to reach out to your friends and let them know how much they mean to you. It could be a phone call, a note, a small gift. Whatever it is, let them know that they are important to you.
Think about the idea of friends on a larger scale and find ways to express your care for people outside your immediate friend group. Volunteer somewhere that helps others. Send cards or flowers to a local nursing home or hospital. Or do something nice for a neighbor.
Reflect on what you think it means to be a friend. Write down your thoughts and keep them for future reflection.