The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter is John 15:12-17.

Christ continues His Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33) in Jerusalem during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After instructing the Apostles with the Vine and Branches, a powerful allegory which reveals the necessity of remaining connected to Christ, Christ emphasizes His great love for those who abide in Him and keep His commandments.

Christ is emphatic about the need for men to love one another, again repeating His “commandment” to love. Rather than vague sentiments or attitudes, Christ reveals that love requires action, with the greatest action a man can take is to ‘lay down his life for his friends”; Christ  will soon lay down His life for mankind in the Passion, meeting the highest human standard for love.

Those who abide in Christ, can aspire to become “friends” with Him.  Searing the need into men’s minds for obedience in keeping His commandments, Christ insists that if men wish to be friends with Him, they must keep His commandments. While keeping the commandments is a lower requirement than laying down one’s life, all of the Apostles will be martyred for Christ, excepting John who suffers much persecution. While Christ offers friendship to the Apostles, He remains their King, making it clear that He has chosen them, appoints them to spread the Gospel (bear fruit) and issues the command for them to love one another. Further clarifying His dominion, Christ promises the Apostles their prayer petitions to the Father will be granted if they ask in Christ’s name.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ does not make suggestions, He in His Glorious Power and Wisdom, commands men to love. Divine King, Christ provides the perfect model for men and challenges men to imitate Him; He deliberately chooses and calls specific men. Son of Man, Christ offers His friendship to those who keep His commandments.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) God is infinitely beyond man’s ability to comprehend. Marvel that God descends in the Incarnation to become the Son of Man and offers His friendship to the men He created.

2) Realize that Christ calls the Apostles “friends” only after a grueling discipleship in which they have given up everything and followed Him for three years; He also knows they will be martyred for Him. During Easter, be awed by God the Almighty (CCC 268-278) and pray that one day your King will call you His friend.

3) Christ makes a conditional statement about His friends: “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” During Easter, recommit to keep Christ’s Commandments (CCC 2052-2082) and pray for Christ to give you the grace to keep His commandments and to forgive you in Confession when you fail.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries