From a Creighton Student's Perspective
May 14, 2012
Senior, Theology Major, Pre-Med
As I looked over today’s readings, I soon realized the Gospel was a passage from John that is most likely familiar to all of us and resonates in some way with each of us. We are presented with Jesus’ great commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). Even though this commandment is at the center of our faith and could be the topic of many sermons, it was not the Gospel statement that grabbed my attention. Instead I was drawn to Jesus’ declaration to his Apostles when he says, “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” (Jn 15:15).
I never really remembered this part of the Gospel, and I was shocked to realize that Jesus is calling each one of us to be his friend. I kept thinking, “Me? You are really calling a doofus like me as your friend?” In my mind, I always picture Jesus as a mentor, teacher, or leader. But friend? It just didn’t seem right to me. I think one of the main reasons why it was difficult for me to see Jesus as a friend was that it implied Jesus had somewhat equal status with me. We usually consider our friends to be our equals, and it seemed almost heretical to think of myself as an equal of Jesus.
However, as I reflected more about it, I realized that Jesus claiming us as friends goes to the heart of what we believe in our faith. We believe that Jesus in his great divinity and power, humbled himself and fully took on human flesh, thus becoming one of us in to order to grant us redemption. As Saint Athanasius wrote, “God became man so that man might become God.” Jesus did not choose to be separate from us or lord over us. Instead, Jesus fully embraced our humanity and dedicated his life to serving others. In addition, each time we receive the Eucharist we believe that we unite ourselves to Christ in a special, sacramental way. Therefore, by claiming us as friends, Jesus is reminding us that he wants to share in our lives in an intimate and powerful way.
Each day Jesus is calling us to grow closer to him and share in the friendship he has claimed with us. Therefore, let us pray we might be open and trust that we are worthy to receive him with love as friend.
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