Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 15:22-31; John 15:12-17)
In his book The Four Loves C.S. Lewis writes that friendship is grossly undervalued in modern times. He says that the ancients considered friendship as “the happiest and most fully human of all loves.” In contrast, he continues, modern people have trouble seeing friendship as a love at all. Friendship, according to Lewis, is sharing personally and fully over common interests. By no means does he equate friendship with regular companionship, however. That is the point; with very few people would a person risk relating feelings of the heart. It is remarkable then that in today’s gospel Jesus calls all his disciples’ friends.
But it is not even the case that those men who gathered around Jesus the night before he died exhaust his list of friends. Really all serious followers of Jesus become his friends because they recognize in him one whom they can trust implicitly. They can tell him how they yearn to know God. In reply he will urge them to keep his commandment of love.
We should see the course of our lives as grooming our friendship with Jesus. As children we will listen with awe the gospels stories of him helping the needy. As youth we will imitate his virtue in our quest to find a mate and launch a career. And in old age we will confide in him as one who suffered own worries. His friendship will not let us down. Rather, it will bring us to eternal life.