He Calls Us Friends
“I no longer call you slaves … I have called you friends, because I have told you everything.…”
We are not slaves of Jesus, but his friends. So why, in the previous line, does he say, “you are my friends if you do what I command you”? That’s a little confusing. Don’t slaves do what they’re commanded to do? But Jesus explains that a slave isn’t “in on” the master’s plans. Slaves do what they’re told without any understanding of the bigger picture, of what part they play, or what the goal is.
Friends are different. We can tell things to our friends and share our plans with them. Think back to friends from childhood. Even then, friends were kids we shared things with—secrets, fears, hopes, and dreams. Adult friendships are different in many ways, but it’s still true that our friends are those we can confide in and, of course, who want to listen to what we tell them: “Tell me everything!” For some friends, that’s as far as it goes—they’re “emotional support.” But for others, it goes deeper.
Jesus wants friends who not only know about the plan and the goal, but who also pitch in and work toward the goal. Jesus doesn’t tell us what he has “heard from the Father” just so we can cheer him on. He invites us to join him. “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
It starts with loving one another, his first command to us. Love is the foundation of the community of his friends. Then he sends us to bear fruit. That is what it means to be friends of Jesus.
Jesus, I love to hear you call me your friend. I don’t want to be a fair-weather friend who sticks by you only as long as the plan is going well. I don’t want to be your friend in name only. I want to be a true friend who is close to you and hears all that you share with me.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to love these others whom you also call your friends. But I know that that is the indispensible first step. First we must love each other; then we can work on your plan to make the love of your Father known to every human being.
I am a friend of Jesus.
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2011). Easter Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 84–85). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.