Skip to content

Father Cantalamessa on Why Jesus Calls Us Friends

Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on This Sunday's Gospel

ROME, MARCH 25, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa on next Sunday's liturgical readings. He is the preacher to the Pontifical Household.

* * *

Fourth Sunday of Lent (B)
(2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21)

God So Loved the World!

In this Sunday's Gospel we find one of the most beautiful and consoling phrases of the Bible: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

To speak to us of love, God has made use of the experiences of love that man has in the natural realm. Dante says that in God exists, as though bound in only one volume, "what in the world is unbound." All human loves -- conjugal, paternal, maternal, friendly -- are pages of a notebook, or flames of a fire, which have in God their source and fullness.

Above all, in the Bible, God speaks to us of his love through the image of paternal love. Paternal love is made of encouragement, of impulse. A father wants his child to grow, pushing him to give the best of himself. This is why it is rare to hear a father praise his son unconditionally in his presence. He fears he will think he is perfect and make no further efforts.

A feature of paternal love is also correction. But a true father is also he who gives freedom and security to his son, which makes him feel protected in life. Herein is the reason why God presents himself to man throughout revelation as his "rock and bastion," a "fortress always close in anxieties."

At other times God speaks to us with the image of maternal love. He says: "Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you" (Isaiah 49:15). A mother's love is made of acceptance, compassion, tenderness; it is a "profound" love.

Mothers are always accomplices of their children and must often defend them and intercede for them before their father. One always speaks of God's power and force; but the Bible also speaks to us of a weakness of God, of an impotence of his. It is "maternal" weakness.

Man knows by experience another type of love, spousal love, of which it is said that it is as "stern as death" and whose flames "are a blazing fire" (Song of Songs 8:6). God has also taken recourse to this kind of love to convince us of his intense love for us. All the terms typical of the love between man and woman, including the term "seduction," are used in the Bible to describe God's love for man.

Jesus fulfilled all these forms of love -- paternal, maternal, spousal (how many times he compares himself to a bridegroom!); but he added another: the love of friendship. He said to his disciples: "No longer do I call you servants ... but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

What is friendship? Friendship can be a stronger bond than kinship itself. Kinship consists in having the same blood; friendship in having the same tastes, ideals and interests. It is born of trust, that is, of the fact that I confide to another my most intimate and personal thoughts and experiences.

Now: Jesus says that he calls us friends, because everything he knew of his heavenly Father he has made known to us, he has confided to us.

He has made us sharers of the family secrets of the Trinity! For example, the fact that God prefers the little ones and the poor, that he loves us as a father, that he has a place prepared for us. Jesus gives to the word "friends" its fullest meaning.

What must we do after recalling this love? Something very simple: to believe in God's love, to accept it, to repeat overwhelmed with St. John: "we know and believe the love God has for us!"


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Jesus, Cantalamessa, Liturgy, Mass

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.