In John we find the words with which Jesus defines, in terms of friendship, his relationship with his disciples:
"I no longer call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for everything that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you"..
Friendship in the Gospel
I vers. 13-15 introduce the two terms friends and servants. "No one has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends." And then, in verse. 14, which states that to be friends must be servants! "You're friends if you do what I command." Is it not the task of servants do what they are commanded? In Jn. 2, the servants of the wedding at Cana, performing what the mother of God, asks them to do, so they know what the master of the banquet cannot yet know. No longer servants! Jesus reveals in ver. 15: "I do not call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you".
Love transforms the relationship between the Master and the disciple, between the Creator and the creature, to establish a new relationship, that of free love. Friend is not a worn-out expression for Jesus, for He is indeed a challenging word for his own life. God calls man: Friend. According to the text, it is offered as a gift of friendship to the disciple, who, in his freedom, is called to accept it and to live it.
Christ was a friend of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus so much that before his death, says St. Irenaeus, Jesus wept as a man and friend and raised him as God. In front of these scenes from the Gospels, we cannot consider that the participation with the divine life has as its source a Friend.
Francis de Sales: "I speak of spiritual friendship that two or three souls communicate their devotion and their spiritual affections, up to form one body." In Christ conflicts and injuries, contradictions and crises that over time a friendship can endure, not destroy it in strength of having experienced the gift we call forgiveness.
A friend, who prays to Christ on behalf of his friend, and wishes to be fulfilled by Christ for the sake of his friend, ends up directing his love of Christ and his desire. In this way from that holy love with which he embraces his friend, go up to the way it embraces Christ is thus affirmed, in the spiritual joy, pending a fullness that will be realized in the coming time.
You have to know the loneliness themselves to grasp the values of certain meetings, which in itself may also be limited in time, but "mark an entire life. So one of the big challenges is to know how to watch friendships with the eyes of faith, which reveal a deep sense of self and the historical reality that you live.
The best friend you can have is Jesus. "I no longer call you servants, for the servant do not know what his lord does; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you all things that I heard from my Father". (Jn 15:15). Choose friends who love the Lord and have pure hearts. "Flee also youthful lusts and after righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
(2 Tim 2:22).
What characteristics make you a good friend? "Do nothing out of partisanship or conceit, but each, with humility, esteem others better than yourselves, each trying not their own interests but also those of others" (Philippians 2: 3-4). "That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts, and so rooted and grounded in love, you are able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you are filled with all the fullness of God". (Ef.3,17-19). And again: "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother".
Jesus materialized many friendships with many people. He was a friend of Lazarus and his sisters, of the apostles, especially Peter and James, but especially John the beloved disciple. And yet these friendships he played in the terms of his union with God the Father.
Jesus saw his death as a sacrifice of friendship, so he said: "No one has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends" (Gv.15,13). "Go home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost". (Lk 15: 6). "You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death" (Luke 21:16). "Well, I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings."
(Lk 16: 9).
If friendship is love, it is also charity. Because love and charity, are, together, the only existing feeling among Christians of faith.
The apostle St. Paul in the final recommendations in the First Letter to the Thessalonians he wrote: "Be at peace among yourselves. I commend you, brethren, reprove those who live badly, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone: Do not avenge yourselves against those who do evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Always be happy. Pray without ceasing, and in all circumstances thanks to the Lord. God wants you to do well, living united with Jesus. Do not obstruct the action of the Holy Spirit. Do not despise God's messages: Prove all things; hold fast what is good. Stay away from every form of evil".
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. You did not choose me but I chose you; and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it".
(Jn 15.12 to 16).
In the last days of life Jesus was between Bethany and Jerusalem. But in the evening he returned to Lazarus that is in the house of friendship and in that house Mary did a gesture of love: he took in his hands the feet of Jesus, and anointed them with nard, perfumed them, dried them with her hair. Maria had in his hands the feet of Jesus, the feet of the traveler who had traveled all the countries of Palestine and who knew the paths of every heart. Surely Jesus' heart rejoiced and received strength from the love of the friend, to walk toward his destiny of death.