Sixth Sunday of Easter | Year B
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved 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 own joy may be in you
and your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends,
if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business;
I call you friends,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me,
no, I chose you;
and commissioned you
to go out and bear fruit,
fruit that will last;
and then my Father will give you
anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you
is to love one another.’
Friends share thoughts with one another. It is the nature of friendship to do this, and the deeper the friendship the greater the knowledge friends will have of one another.
Jesus calls us friends, and directly relates it to the knowledge he has shared with us – “I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father”. Many of us have known the scriptures and the knowledge Jesus has shared with us since were children; it has been so much part of our lives that we don’t realize just how much that knowledge has shaped us and the world we live in.
The knowledge we have of our friends is sacred and precious, to be respected and held to ourselves unless we have their permission to share it. Then it should only be shared in ways which are good for our friend and for those who receive it.
In this gospel Jesus lifts all restrictions on sharing the knowledge he has given us. After calling us friends he tells us that we must share this knowledge with others – “I chose you,
and commissioned you to go out and bear fruit...”. We received the knowledge not to bury it as the man given one talent did with his talent, but to use it to bring others into the friendship we share with Jesus.
The knowledge that Jesus gave us can bear fruit through our reflection and prayer. It can bear fruit in our words to others. It can bear fruit in who we are and how we act towards others.
Jesus and the disciples were a scary group to the scribes and Pharisees, not just because of what they said, but because of the love they showed towards others. There was an equality in their love that threatened the relationships the scribes and Pharisees had built on status and rank. That same love threatened the law the scribes and Pharisees had embellished and ossified to entrench privilege.
True friendship is always a privilege, to be cherished and nurtured, infused with love, and never betrayed by misuse of the knowledge it gives us of another.