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 may be
in you and your joy may 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."
Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you
my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears,
weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being
to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain
of your mercy and of the purifying power of your
penetrating, loving gaze.
Petition: Jesus, let me fulfill your command
Depths of Jesus’ Love: Jesus makes a startling comparison: He
likens his love for his disciples with the immense love
his Father has for him. Before even the world came
to be, the Father and the Son were immersed in
boundless, mutual love. The Holy Spirit is this bond of
love. The intimacy of the union and self-giving of the
Blessed Trinity surpasses any human comparison, and yet Our Lord
tells his disciples he loves them in a like manner.
Do I realize how deeply my Savior loves me? Does
the truth of Christ’s personal love for me, proven from
the height of the cross, fill me with awe and
find an ever more generous response in my spiritual life?
Demands of Friendship: The circumstances and timing surrounding Jesus’ designation
of his disciples as friends reiterates the authenticity of the
title. Jesus is just a few hours away from being
abandoned and betrayed by those he now calls friends. Still,
Our Lord is so moved by love that he looks
beyond his followers’ betrayal, to the victory he is about
to win for them. Jesus also offers me his friendship.
He invites me to “remain in his love.” I am
not called to be a spectator, but to discover the
joy found in accompanying him. To follow the “Crucified One”
will always be demanding, but his friendship is a treasure
which far surpasses the weight of the cross.
3. Badge of Love: The
mutual love of the Father and the Son, which Jesus
gratuitously extends to us as his friends, should bear fruit
in charity. The first Christians took very seriously Christ’s command
of charity. It was their distinctive mark. It set them
apart from the peoples among whom they lived. It was
the magnetic force that attracted so many to join their
ranks. The command to love each other is the logical
result of our personal worth as people loved by the
Lord. If Jesus loves my brother or sister so much
that he gave his life for him or her, can
there be any excuse for me not to show respect
and deference on their behalf? Charity is the badge of
every true Christian. How can I better live Christ’s commandment
of love, starting within my own family?
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I pray
that I will never cease to be astonished by the
depths of your personal love for me. You call me
your friend even though I have not always lived up
to the demands of this calling. I want to be
a better and truer friend of yours.
Resolution: I will show a simple
act of kindness to a member of my family today.