Jesus’ Great Commandment of today’s gospel draws its central power in this proclamation: “I no longer call you slaves. . . . I have called you friends.” The Christ event—God’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection—fundamentally alters our orientation as created beings. God is no longer monad, the first mover who leaves creation to unfold. But God enters into this created world of His first love, the moved mover, who so moved, joins with us as friends.

This is a fundamental shift of orientation for humanity, and a challenge. To what degree do I see God as friend, one who loves us and joins with us completely on our journey? Do I pray and communicate to this God as such? St. Ignatius encouraged us in this way, that we might speak to Jesus “as a friend does to a friend.”  It is in this equanimity of God that the Great Commandment makes full sense. Only as we experience this love of a friend, God—offered as free and unconditional gift—can we share it with others as free and unconditional gift.

This Easter, how might I more fully receive this gift of God’s friendship in Jesus Christ and, in doing so, share it without cost to a world that needs it so much?

Matthew Couture, Provincial Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education, Chicago-Detroit Province and Wisconsin Province