Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gospel for Friday, 5th Week of Easter

From: John 15:12-17

The Law of Love
[12] "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. [13] Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [14] You are My friends if you do what I command you. [15] No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. [16] You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. [17] This I command you, to love one another."

12-15. Jesus insists on the "new commandment", which He Himself keeps by giving His life for us. See note on John 13:34-35.

Christ's friendship with the Christian, which our Lord expresses in a very special way in this passage, is something very evident in [St] Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer's preaching: "The life of the Christian who decides to behave in accordance with the greatness of his vocation is so to speak a prolonged echo of those words of our Lord, `No longer do I call you My servants; a servant is one who does not understand what his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that My Father has told Me; and so I have called you My friends' (John 15:15). When we decide to be docile and follow the will of God, hitherto unimagined horizons open up before us.... `There is nothing better than to recognize that Love has made us slaves of God. From the moment we recognize this we cease being slaves and become friends, sons' ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 35).

"Sons of God, FRIENDS OF GOD.... Jesus is truly God and truly Man, He is our Brother and our Friend. If we make the effort to get to know Him well `we will share in the joy of being God's friends' ["ibid.", 300]. If we do all we can to keep Him company, from Bethlehem to Calvary, sharing His joys and sufferings, we will become worthy of entering into loving conversation with Him. As the Liturgy of the Hours sings, "calicem Domini biberunt, et amici Dei facti sunt" (they drank the chalice of the Lord and so became friends of God).

"Being His children and His friends are two inseparable realities for those who love God. We go to Him as children, carrying on a trusting dialogue that should fill the whole of our lives; and we go to Him as friends.... In the same way our divine sonship urges us to translate the overflow of our interior life into apostolic activity, just as our friendship with God leads us to place ourselves at `the service of all men. We are called to use the gifts God has given us as instruments to help others discover Christ' ["ibid.", 258]" (Monsignor A. del Portillo in his preface to [St] J. Escriva's, "Friends of God").

16. There are three ideas contained in these words of our Lord. One, that the calling which the Apostles received and which every Christian also receives does not originate in the individual's good desires but in Christ's free choice. It was not the Apostles who chose the Lord as Master, in the way someone would go about choosing a rabbi; it was Christ who chose them. The second idea is that the Apostles' mission and the mission of every Christian is to follow Christ, to seek holiness and to contribute to the spread of the Gospel. The third teaching refers to the effectiveness of prayer done in the name of Christ; which is why the Church usually ends the prayers of the liturgy with the invocation "Through Jesus Christ our Lord...".

The three ideas are all interconnected: prayer is necessary if the Christian life is to prove fruitful, for it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7); and the obligation to seek holiness and to be apostolic derives from the fact that it is Christ Himself who has given us this mission. "Bear in mind, son, that you are not just a soul who has joined other souls in order to do a good thing.

"That is a lot, but it's still little. You are the Apostle who is carrying out an imperative command from Christ" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 942).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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