Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love 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 joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love 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 no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”
Good News Reflection: How to be a good friend of Jesus
Servanthood is the mark of true Christian living. Jesus emphasized this during the Last Supper, saying that he came not to be served, but to serve, and that likewise we should serve one another. In his parables, he often referred to believers as “servants” of the Kingdom. But in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus says that he wants us to be his friends, not his slaves. Is he contradicting himself?
Not at all! Friends serve because they care. Slaves serve because of duty and the fear of punishment.
Jesus said, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.” Do we hear this as a friend or as a slave?
Slaves are afraid of what will happen if they fail to keep God’s commandments; they are self-protective. Friends are eager to find out what God commands, because they view the commandments from the perspective of love, as opportunities to serve; they are other-oriented.
Jesus said, “This is my commandment: Love one another the way I love you.” It’s the supreme commandment; call it the Commandment of Friendship. He says, “You know how I love you, my friends: I openly share with you everything that the Father tells me.” His friends realize that what he shares (through scripture and through the Church) reveals our opportunities to love. Every commandment is rooted in love. Every Church teaching is based on scriptures that help us know when and how to love.
When we fail to obey, do we lose God’s love? Never! Do we lose our place in his love? Yes. By living outside of his commandments, we feel unloved even while being loved.
This is slavery. We’re enslaved by fear or by false beliefs or by our wounds that have caused us to think that we’re not loved enough. God’s commandments then feel confining, and if we try to escape, we commit rebellion. Those who don’t rebel accept their slavery and obey dutifully in the hope of winning God’s love.
Friends, on the other hand, know that God always loves them, and in this love, they are free to serve one another joyfully.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Are you obeying God like a slave or his best friend? Do you eagerly and happily jump into doing the will of God or do you complain about it? Do you ever want to escape from God’s will? What will you do this week to become more aware of his friendship?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
What raises our relationships with God from slavery into friendship? Describe the differences between obeying out of duty and obeying out of love. How do you define friendship with God?
Lord, You chose me and enabled me to love You and my neighbors. Keep working on me so that Your love in me grows more and more every day. Only You can do that. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica