Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
I was with one of my good friends, not too long ago, and I had a small, yet impactful, interior moment while enjoying his company and sharing laughs about the good ole days. A thought crossed my mind, “why are we friends?” Or more pointedly, “why does he want to be friends with me?” This was not a thought of self-loathing or of negative humility, where I was somehow wallowing in my own inner cartoonish Eeyore. Nor was I trying to be judgmental, as if we were not compatible as friends. Rather, in that moment, I was touched by wonder at the gift of his time to me in a way I had not considered in a long time. I was struck with gratitude for the gift that my friend was offering me with his time, presence, and care. I’ll never be able to see how my friend sees me, nor can I ever fully realize why he desires to be friends with me, but I can receive the gift of his friendship with delight, wonder, and joy, and give to him in return the gift of my friendship as we grow together through life’s joys and struggles. It was a quiet moment, but it opened my eyes to the mystery of friendship and recovered for me a deep sense of gratitude for the good friends in my life.
It was this human insight that moved my heart with these readings today. Jesus says, “I no longer call you slaves…I have called you friends.” What a simple phrase of Jesus here, and yet what a profound one. Do we believe that Jesus – who is God – calls us to be friends with him? Think about that for a minute. God, the creator of the world, the alpha and the omega, looks at you and me and says “I want to be friends with you.” What an awesome and humbling thought! When was the last time you were struck by the wonder, the gratitude and the mystery of this divine gift? Not only did Christ die for us, save us, rise from the dead, thus offering us new life and new hope, he also extends the gift of his personal friendship to each and every one of us – if we will only accept it. What a mystery! What a joy!
Sometimes, I think we can feel a sense of guilt at this notion of God’s friendship, recognizing that maybe we haven’t been the best of friends with the Lord. Jesus says that his friends are those that live out what he commands, especially who live out love towards God and others. We can be painfully aware, at times, of our lack of love and following the Lord, which might cause us to shrink back like Peter from God’s friendship and say “depart from me for I am a sinner.”
But, I think we ought to remember another image of friendship. Think of that last time you encountered an old friend after a long time – maybe even years. What was the first thing you did when you saw them? Did you hide your head in shame for the lack of communication, or did you smile, wave, run and share in their presence with delight and joy. At some point in the pleasant exchange, one of you might say “we have so much to catch up on, and it’s so good to see you.” Perhaps, this is one of the ways God sees us when we return to him – with a smile, a hug and a “tell me all about it old friend, so good to see you.” While we are still in Easter, pray with the notion of the gift of God’s friendship, and see how your friend desires to be with you and what your heart desires to do as a response.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Do you really think that God wants to be friends with you?
What makes someone a good friend to you?
What do you do to be a good friend to others?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I want to be your friend, Lord."
"I love you Lord."
"I'm here to serve you Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Take a moment today to do something good for a friend, practice your skills as a friend!
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Today’s Prayer was prepared by Jon Polce, a Jesuit Scholastic and current high school theology teacher.
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