Many years ago I was reminiscing with a married couple who are close friends about how our relationship began. I recalled that they had invited me to dinner after Mass one Sunday at our parish. Their version: I had stopped to talk to them and said we ought to get together. Laughing over our contrasting memories, my friends and I decided to leave the origins of our friendship ambiguous. Who chose whom? Does it really matter?
In today’s Gospel, it does matter who’s doing the choosing! At the Last Supper Jesus shares some intimate sentiments with his disciples. “I have called you friends,” he insists, “it was I who chose you.” Those words–which any one of us would welcome coming from someone famous, attractive or interesting–come from the Word made Flesh, God-with-us. In a few simple sentences Jesus confers on his followers a wondrous dignity. As friends of Jesus they are invited into an intimacy with God! That intimacy can be ours as well.
In prayer we relate to God with the intimate friendship described by Jesus. We come to prayer with all the confidence that good friends bring to a relationship. God offers us the patient, supportive listening of an understanding friend. In the peace that flows from such prayer comes the fruitful response Jesus asks of us in today’s Gospel.
Sunday reflection by Father Greg Friedman, from St. Anthony Messenger Press, find it on the web at Franciscanmedia.org. Shared with permission.