Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us his friends.
Psychologists tell us that a true friend is someone who has seen us at our worst and still loves us. If you have encountered me only on my best days, I have no guarantee that you are my friend. But when you have dealt with me when I am most obnoxious and you still love me, then I am sure that you are my friend.
The old Gospel song says, “What a friend we have in Jesus!” This is not pious sentimentalism; it is the heart of the matter. What the first Christians saw in the dying and rising of Jesus is that we killed God and God returned in forgiving love. He saw us at our very worst and loved us anyway.
Thus they saw confirmed in flesh and blood what Jesus had said the night before he died: “I no longer call you slaves. . . . I have called you friends.” They realized, in the drama of the Paschal Mystery, that we have not only been shown a new way; we have been drawn into a new life, a life of friendship with God.