“I have called you friends.”

For this Sunday, we read a gospel passage (Jn 15:9-17) that combines the ones we heard Thursday and Friday.  Recall that here, Jesus expresses His love for us as He is loved by the Father.  We remain in that love by keeping the commandments.  He goes on to speak of the greatest love as being that in which one dies for a friend.  We remain in His friendship by doing as He commands; we know His commands because He has told us everything the Father has told Him to convey.  Jesus chose the apostles to “bear fruit that will remain” (v. 16) by loving one another. That Jesus calls His apostles (and us) friends should be very moving to us.  We are not slaves who are compelled to do what the master demands.  Rather, we are in a much more intimate union in which Jesus invites us, but doesn’t force us, to be close to Him.  Yet He knows what is best, spending a three year public ministry extolling just those things that will make us whole and complete.  His life is culminated by torture and death, but He leaves us alone only for a few house before He resurrects.  Now we never need be alone again.  However many or few friends we may have on earth, and however they treat us, we always have a true friend who is always there and will never abandon us.  Pour out yourself to Him and He will help you in any situation or difficulty.  Comforting indeed.

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