Growing up, in all the retreats and recollections I have attended, I have proudly regarded Jesus Christ as my friend; in Him I have confided everything, from the shallowest story down to my most painful memories. But things took a turn when we reflected on today’s gospel.
In the Gospel, Jesus Christ called us His friends if we keep His commandments. That verse hurt me. How can I regard Him as a friend when I often find myself committing the same sins over and over again. His call didn’t end there; we are also called to bear fruit. Then it hit me, where are my fruits then?
Last Sunday’s Gospel has talked about Jesus being the true vine and we are the branches. This Sunday’s Gospel will go deeply in why remaining in Him will bear as much fruit. All that Jesus did came from the Father with whom He experienced love. One cannot love knowing first how it is to feel loved. A survey was conducted of people, who are in prison. It was noted that a great number of them never felt the love of a mother or who were abandoned by their own mothers. Committing a crime then became easy for a person who was never loved at all.
Loved. To bask in it, to make it our source of true joy, joy that is complete. Contented. No one else has bridged the imperfect love the world is giving us and making us feel other than the love Jesus has given us. He alone can fill that growing, gaping hole of being unloved, of feeling alone, of hitting rock bottom. He has called us His friends for He was the only one who never left when we are the most difficult to love, when we are the most stubborn ‘disciple’ to do what He commands us to do. I find myself, being given chances over and over again as I stray from committing one sin after another. I felt so unworthy being called when in fact He doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the chosen. Countless of times, I pride myself from the things I have, the talents He gave. I find myself correcting people who fell short in their ways of ‘following’ the Lord. I have caught myself being proud in neglecting a friend who will not attend our gatherings in our community because I felt ‘I have had enough’. Forgetting that I have nothing to boast to the Lord, He who has equipped me, He who has called me, He from whom all the love and chances come from. Who am I then to call Him a friend when I keep on falling short letting Him come into my life to complete me. To act in kindness when the world is cruel, to respond meekly to bosses who has hurt your work no matter how much effort you have put in, to love the people we love, who have hurt us deeply and has created in us holes of loneliness and mistrust.
Today’s gospel calls us to anchor ourselves in the love, the Lord only can give, if we continuously not just say ‘yes’ to His call of conversion but to also lay down our life for Him. He has laid down His life to us, may we also find the strength to lay down/surrender our lives to Him. He is the greatest Healer, for His love comes from the Father. Nothing can compete to that. No amount of social media appreciation can make us feel the kind of joy of how His magnifying love transforms.
Peter denied Him three times, yet he was named Father of the church. Peter bore fruit for He chose to remain with the Jesus despite of his shortcomings because he was able to offer his life to the Lord.
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” Jn. 15:16
His love never fails. If Jesus is in us, it will not be impossible to be the kind of love, so that others can be drawn to Jesus by seeing how we live our lives. Always remember, He has already called us His friends, let us choose to call Him our friend, too; by choosing love every day.
Source: Neo Jeremiah Voice of the Young Prophet Newsletter May 6, 2018 issue.