May 20, 2022

I call you my friends . . .

As I read the scriptures for today, a majestic song comes into my head: Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, or “Ode to Joy.”

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love. Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above.

I go to the piano and pound out the melody, the one “arranged for easy piano.”

The Responsorial Psalm (57) sings out:

I will sing and chant praise. Awake, O soul; awake, lyre and harp. I will chant your praise among the nations.

Why all this joy? Why all this desire to sing or play a musical instrument?

The Alleluia verse from John 15:15b says much of it:

I call you my friends, says the Lord.

In today’s Gospel from John, Jesus speaks of the great commandment, love one another as I love you. For Jesus laid down his life for us, his friends, and commands us to do likewise, love one another.

Another song comes into my head, one we sang at our wedding some 50 years ago this summer, a version of the Quaker hymn, How Can I Keep From Singing?

Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth, How can I keep from singing?

On retreat in 1865, Saint Peter Julian Eymard wrote a meditation on how Jesus is a “good neighbor and friend . . ..” He bemoaned that “as a friend – few have for Him the thoughtful and selfless love honest-to-goodness people have for a friend.” He hears God say to him, become a more “strong and experienced lover.” (March 14)

So take heart: Jesus laid down his life for us and called us, his disciples, “friends.” And in imagining what this means for you, belt out (or hum) whatever song comes…

Let Us Pray:

Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, All who live in love are Thine; Teach us how to love each other, Lift us to the joy divine. (5th Verse from Ode to Joy)


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Jim Brown

Jim Brown is an Associate of the Blessed Sacrament. He is the former Director of the Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (CEE) and has worked in a professional capacity for over 30 years with the Congregation. He and his wife live in Cincinnati Ohio.