“I do not wish to call you servants. I wish to call you friends”.
An amazing revelation or an amazing invitation? The meaning of the word friend has been watered down through overuse. Thanks to the advent of wireless technology and social networking sites, everyone can have friends by the hundreds. We now can easily friend and sadly unfriend or defriend people. Friendship is still valued but what does it mean?
In last Sunday’s Gospel, the word “friend” comes from “philos,” a Greek word which means beloved. St John describes himself as the beloved disciple implying an intimate relationship with Jesus. In one of his paintings, Leonardo da Vinci depicted this relationship by placing John next to Jesus with his head resting on his heart.
I’m always touched when children are invited around the altar for the consecration of the bread and wine. An invitation to come closer to Jesus, an invitation to be a “beloved” of Jesus. This invitation to come closer is extended in a spiritual way to all of us. It is an ongoing invitation to grow in intimacy with Jesus, a call to be “beloved.”