I Will Call You My Friends

May 5, 2024

Many years ago, when I first went to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, the staff began planning for Bishop Foys to come to officially install me as pastor. They told me that I needed to have a motto, something from the Scriptures that will tell people something about me. I jokingly told them that I wanted a phrase from today’s Gospel as my motto. “I will call you my friends if you do as I command you.” Some of them did not find that as humorous as I did. That has been a consistent problem for me throughout my life and has gotten me into trouble with some people.

But I digress. This passage is a promise of the love that Christ has for us. “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” That little word “as” is incredibly easy to overlook, but it is very important and is making a significant point. In the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As = "The Same As." Now we all want all of our sins forgiven, completely. So, we must be willing to forgive others all of their sins, completely.

So, to say Jesus loves us as the Father loves Him informs us that Jesus’ love for us is complete and absolute, unconditional and full of compassion and mercy.
He then tells us that He has but one commandment—that we love one another as He has loved us. We certainly are aware of the Ten Commandments, and we know of the Two Great Commandments. But what of this single commandment: Love one another.
The Two Great Commandments make life simple, but not easy. We know what Christ’s expectations for us are, but they are daunting and difficult.
“I will call you my friends.” We are called to be disciples of Jesus’ Christ. To be a disciple of Christ is to be friends of Christ.
Fr. Mike Comer

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