FRIDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER
Memorial of St Bernadine of Siena, Priest
Acts 15: 22-31; Ps 57: 8-10, 12; Jn 15: 12-17
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A FRIEND OF JESUS
- Friends of Jesus love one another: Our conflicts stem from the same self-centred motives. “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” Jas 4:1-2. The Lord knew our propensity towards selfishness, so during his final hours with the disciples he repeatedly urged them to love one another. He wanted them to remember this one thing, because love is not optional for those who follow Jesus (1 Cor 13).
- Friends of Jesus obey his commandments: This doesn’t mean that obedience makes one Jesus’ friend, as if it were earned. Rather, it describes what Jesus’ friends do: they obey him. He isn’t friends with any who lives in disobedience or self-will.
- Friends of Jesus accept the truths that he has revealed: Even though Jesus elevates the disciples from being slaves to being friends during the Last Supper, the master-slave relationship is not eradicated. Jesus declares that he has openly shared with the disciples the things that he has heard from the Father. By “all things,” he means all things necessary for them to know at this point. After the resurrection, he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures in ways that they could not understand before his death (cf. Lk 24:45).
- Friends of Jesus are chosen by him to bear fruits that last: “Fruit” here most likely refers to converts who come to Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. They will remain because Jesus promises to keep them (cf. Jn 6:39,40). The reason that God chose to save us is that we would help bring others to know the Saviour. As Paul put it (2 Tim 2:10), “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen…” Paul suffered so that God’s elect would hear the gospel and be saved. That should be our aim as well.
Response: I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples.
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