Christian Joy

Christ’s love for Christians is a reflection of the love the Three Divine

Persons have for one another and for all men: “We love, because He first loved

us” (1 John 4:19).

 

Reflection from “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”

The certainty that God loves us is the source of Christian joy (verse 11), but it is

also something which calls for a fruitful response on our part, which should take

the form of a fervent desire to do God’s will in everything, that is, to keep His

commandments, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who did the will of His Father (cf.

John 4:34).

 

12-15. Jesus insists on the “new commandment”, which He Himself keeps by

giving His life for us.  See note on John 13:34-35.

 

Christ’s friendship with the Christian, which our Lord expresses in a very special

way in this passage, is something very evident in St.Escriva’s preaching: “The

life of the Christian who decides to behave in accordance with the greatness of

his vocation is so to speak a prolonged echo of those words of our Lord, ‘No

longer do I call you My servants; a servant is one who does not understand what

his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that My Father has

told Me; and so I have called you My friends’ (John 15:15).  When we decide to

be docile and follow the will of God, hitherto unimagined horizons open up before

us….  ‘There is nothing better than to recognize that Love has made us slaves

of God.  From the oment we recognize this we cease being slaves and become

friends, sons’ (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 35).

 

“Sons of God, friends of God….  Jesus is truly God and truly Man, He is our

Brother and our Friend.  If we make the effort to get to know Him well ‘we will

share in the joy of being God’s friends’ ["ibid.", 300].  If we do all we can to keep

Him company, from Bethlehem to Calvary, sharing His joys and sufferings, we

will become worthy of entering into loving conversation with Him.  As the Liturgy

of the Hours sings, “calicem Domini biberunt, et amici Dei facti sunt” (they drank

the chalice of the Lord and so became friends of God).

 

“Being His children and His friends are two inseparable realities for those who

love God.  We go to Him as children, carrying on a trusting dialogue that should

fill the whole of our lives; and we go to Him as friends….  In the same way our

divine sonship urges us to translate the overflow of our interior life into apostolic

activity, just as our friendship with God leads us to place ourselves at ‘the service

of all men.  We are called to use the gifts God has given us as instruments to

help others discover Christ’ ["ibid.", 258]” (Monsignor A. del Portillo in his preface

to St. J. Escriva’s, “Friends of God”).

 

16. There are three ideas contained in these words of our Lord.  One, that the

calling which the Apostles received and which every Christian also receives does

not originate in the individual’s good desires but in Christ’s free choice.  It was not

the Apostles who chose the Lord as Master, in the way someone would go about

choosing a rabbi; it was Christ who chose them.  The second idea is that the

Apostles’ mission and the mission of every Christian is to follow Christ, to seek

holiness and to contribute to the spread of the Gospel.  The third teaching refers

to the effectiveness of prayer done in the name of Christ; which is why the Church

usually ends the prayers of the liturgy with the invocation “Through Jesus Christ

our Lord…”.

 

The three ideas are all interconnected: prayer is necessary if the Christian life is

to prove fruitful, for it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7); and the

obligation to seek holiness and to be apostolic derives from the fact that it is

Christ Himself who has given us this mission.

  • Jerry

    “It was not the Apostles who chose the Lord as Master, it was Christ who chose them.” This is a difficult concept for us to accept. We want to show God what we have done for Him, when it is really all about what He has done for us. If we can accept this He makes our burden lighter.
    In the same mode as “While we were still sinners He died for us.” He did all the heavy lifting.
    Jerry, St. Charles, IL

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