Gospel Reflections

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 15:9-17

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn

Published: May 10, 2015

Read John 15:9-17

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... Read More…


We usually apply the phrase, “Failure to thrive” to the neglected children in our society who have been deprived of nutrition and love. Did you ever think that phrase can apply to adults as well? It can apply to you and me, to friends and neighbors, to ageing relatives and the many people languishing in nursing homes. Failure to thrive is never the will of the God who says, “I came that you may have life and have it to the full.” (Jn: 10:10)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus provides the antidote to failure to thrive when he invites us to the friendship that brings joy and fruitfulness. He calls us out of inner emptiness and loneliness when he reminds us of his love – a love not of obligation: “I no longer call you slaves.” It is his choice, as he invites us to “remain in His love so he can reveal Himself to us.” That is what friends do; they tell one another their dreams, disappointments, failures and secrets. Friends speak and they listen, with both head and heart. Neither one holds back and in that process as they tell one another who they are, in revealing the most sacred part of their being.

Because Jesus does not want us to fail to thrive, neither physically, nor emotionally nor spiritually, he says simply, “Love one another.” Yes, but how? Every day in the GospelPage, Jesus tells us HOW to love: to love as he did, to touch, to nourish, to counsel, to forgive and above all, to meet people where they are at significant times in their lives.

We hear today’s Gospel in the context of the Eucharistic meal that nourishes us, in giving us the strength to believe: to take Jesus at his word. For me, am I God’s Friend!

And so we ask ourselves:

• Who are the people in my life who are failing to thrive?
• How will my love make a difference in their lives?
• Am I failing to thrive emotionally and spiritually?
• Will faith in the gift of Christ’s friendship change this failure as I learn to do with Jesus what friends do – to listen, to talk, to share hopes and fears, disappointments and failures?

That is the mutuality of friendship Jesus offers us when He says: “I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”

Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart with love. Teach me to love as Jesus loves.



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