Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Sixth Sunday of Easter

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 John 15:9-17

“You are my friends”

Jesus informs us that his love for us is the same as his Father's love for him. That love of the Father is the source of all that he did and said during his life on earth. He gave a human shape, a tangible expression, to God’s love when he cared for people and gave new chances even to outcasts. Today he calls us his friends and he urges us to “remain in my love”. Being a Christian means being the Lord's friend. Jesus would have us be his friends, not servants; no place in this relationship for domination or servitude. Rather, he invites us into a personal relationship of warmth and intimacy, sharing with us the secret of his life with the Father and drawing us into his own way of relating.

This friendship that he offers to us is entirely his gift: “You did not choose me, no, I chose you”. Through whatever medium, whether through our parents and teachers from our earliest days, or through the influence of others later in life, he has freely bestowed upon us the gifts of faith and friendship. He has chosen us and has offered his life for us and to us. But, as in any relationship, his offered friendship remains incomplete without our response. He seeks in us an echo of his own love and friendship.

So it is precisely as friends that he tells us to “love one another as I have loved you”. Here is the other side of the coin of our friendship with Jesus - our response of care and concern for one another, including those we like and those we don’t like, even the outcasts of our time. Loving one another is the ‘fruit’ he has commissioned us to bear – it is the visible and tangible expression of our friendship with him. “You are my friends”, says Jesus, “if you do what I command you”- “love one another”.