As we approach the end of this academic year, John’s Gospel this weekend fittingly leaves us with words from Jesus’ farewell discourse. Following upon his hope for the disciples that they remain committed in the faith as branches growing from the vine, Jesus turns to the foundational commandment to love others from a generous heart. Whether our personal time in the choir is best measured in weeks, months, or years, we have all experienced the love that exists in this ensemble. This love manifests itself in the way we sing together, eat together, socialize together, laugh together, and pray together. We reach out to comfort those who are going through hard times, and we affirm the gifts present in one another that make a positive difference in our lives. We support each other in academic endeavors, in spiritual and professional discernment, and in joyful praise of our God each Sunday morning from the basilica loft. As we enter this final month, may we be able to say of one another, “I have called you friends,” and may we always hear Jesus say the same words to us in the depths of our hearts. We are indeed friends of Christ, and trusting in his promise and example, we open ourselves to become true friends to one another. May we continue to let Jesus’ love transform our lives, and may this love be the solid ground from which all our friendships blossom.
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heav’n to earth come down;
fix in us your humble dwelling, all your faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, source of all compassion, love unbounded, love all pure,
visit us with your salvation; let your love in us endure.
Come, Almighty, to deliver; let us all your life receive;
suddenly return and never, nevermore your temples leave.
Lord, we would be always blessing, serve you as your hosts above,
pray and praise your without ceasing, glory in your precious love.