As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved 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 do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus’ Great Commandment of today’s gospel draws its central power in this proclamation: “I no longer call you slaves. . . . I have called you friends.” The Christ event—God’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection—fundamentally alters our orientation as created beings. God is no longer monad, the first mover who leaves creation to unfold. But God enters into this created world of His first love, the moved mover, who so moved, joins with us as friends.
This is a fundamental shift of orientation for humanity, and a challenge. To what degree do I see God as friend, one who loves us and joins with us completely on our journey? Do I pray and communicate to this God as such? St. Ignatius encouraged us in this way, that we might speak to Jesus “as a friend does to a friend.” It is in this equanimity of God that the Great Commandment makes full sense. Only as we experience this love of a friend, God—offered as free and unconditional gift—can we share it with others as free and unconditional gift.
This Easter, how might I more fully receive this gift of God’s friendship in Jesus Christ and, in doing so, share it without cost to a world that needs it so much?
Lord, what if we really embraced your pronouncement that “You did not choose me but I chose you.” Would we dream bigger? Would we take more risks? Would we be more persistent and have more patience? Would we be more hopeful that we could “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last”? This day we will savor the awesome privilege of being chosen by you. And we will move forward with a divine aspiration and a divine confidence.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team