A Friend in Spite of it All

May 1, 2018

Gospel Reflection, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts of the Apostles 10: 25 – 26, 34-35, 44 - 48; 1 John 4: 7 - 10; John 15: 9 - 17

 A Friend in Spite of it All

 It is so important to know that we are loved.  Nothing can equal being loved.  It corresponds to our deepest need.  It is like the sun beneath which we bloom and when it no longer shines we are like plants without sunshine. 

Jesus is talking about this in today’s gospel reading.  He does so just a few hours before his arrest and his execution on the Cross.  He knows that in a short time almost everyone will abandon him.  But nevertheless, he calls them “friends”.  We expect friends to be loyal, but the apostles, for fear of their own lives, abandoned him. 

Yet Jesus stayed loyal to them.  He was truly the good friend in spite of their cowardice.  They were most deeply moved that Jesus forgave them for betraying him and that he did not say they were no longer his friends when he appeared to them as the risen Lord. 

When we find a friend who is disloyal and betrays us, we usually demand an explanation and an apology from him or her.   But Jesus not only forgave them in advance, he gave up his life for them.  He mentions his reason for acting this way saying, “That is how I have loved you.” 

He asks nothing as an equivalent response except that we love one another as he has loved us.  And he promises that if we remain in this love, then we will know great joy and bring others to blossom as well.  It is quite simple the way that Jesus talks about it:  “Love one another!”  And yet we know that it is not easy to love when there is no love returned or to forgive when we meet with ingratitude.  That is exactly what Jesus met with from his friends, and he has offered us an example of what it is like when someone remains a friend in spite of it all – a real friend.  God bless you all!

 Father Tony