The whole of today's homily, preached at St. Cuthbert's and St. John's, can be found by clicking here - and this is an excerpt from the middle:
... There’s a deep truth in this story about how God relates to us. Left to ourselves we might find our lives have little direction. Who can we depend on? What sense do we make of life? What gives meaning to our existence? What can I do to make a difference to the way I live? So often we just can’t come up with the answers to these questions.
But the message of Christianity is that it is God who comes in to make the difference. Already he is watching out for us - watching over us… And in Jesus he comes to us to bring us to a new way of living and hope. When there is nothing we can do to help ourselves, it’s Jesus who comes to our aid. When we can’t earn a sense of well-being or wholeness - and our lives feel so incomplete - it’s Jesus who redeems us. He pays the way for us - with a love that takes him to the Cross. He doesn’t demand that we argue a case why he should take notice of us - he simply gives us his love… and dies for us.
He could require that we should be his servants - he could make a charge for his attention and care. But instead he calls us “friends.” As he tells the disciples in today’s Gospel reading:
You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends…
I wonder if we’re very good at taking this in? Perhaps it depends on how we treat our friends… And these days people can acquire Facebook friends by the hundred - until we might wonder, just who really is my friend? Or perhaps we simply don’t consider ourselves worthy to be counted as God’s friends.
The good news from Jesus is that we don’t need to be worthy. We can’t do anything to earn God’s friendship. We need only to be loved - to know God’s love...