Gospel Reading: Jn 15:9-17
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.
“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
I have called you friends
Jesus considers the people close to him friends. They belong to his inner circle. They have stood by him. They have shown interest in his teachings. They may not be the most intelligent or most religious people in society, but Jesus holds them dear. They are his intimate friends. Jesus will show his intimate love for them by laying down his life for them.
On the part of the apostles, as friends of Jesus, they have to love one another. The love they have been enjoying since they followed Jesus must be lived among themselves as a community. They should show mature and reciprocal love for one another. They are all adults and have been trained day and night to love. Among the people, they are the ones who know Jesus best, his mind and his heart. They can represent him best. Soon they will be sent to evangelize.
In the First Reading, we see Peter in the house of Cornelius, a pagan. He is sent there to evangelize. Through his preaching, the whole household responds to God’s grace. They become followers of Christ. They even receive the Holy Spirit before their baptism. Peter concludes that God loves all people. God does not play favorites. The friendship of Jesus extends to all.
The Second Reading backs up the theme of love in the Gospel. It repeats the reciprocal element of love. Love is fostered in the community. Without love in their relationships, people will never know God.
* * *
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.