As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.
Cardinal Schönborn's thoughts on this passage:
"It was on a May evening in 1991, more than 20 years ago. I had just received the message that Pope John Paul II had appointed me auxiliary bishop of Vienna. Moved, confused, full of questions, I sat on the bus to go back to my home on the outskirts of Rome. An endless drive on a rattling and noisy old bus. To all who complain about public transport in Vienna, I can only advise they live some time in Rome and depend on public transportation there. I guarantee that you will find Vienna wonderful and won’t complain anymore!
On this long bus trip a word of Jesus went through my mind again and again: "but I have called you friends"! Why is exactly this passage in today's Gospel? What was it about these words back then that moved me so deeply that I then took it as my motto for the episcopate?
Today, many years later, I can say: It remains for me one of the most important words spoken by Jesus. It has been very influential in my life: "I no longer call you servants... Instead, I have called you friends". Friendship for me is the "elixir of life – the curing of all ills". It gives support and comfort to our lives. It is refreshing and encouraging. What builds up a friendship? How does it develop? What keeps it alive? And what puts it at risk?
Today many people have so-called "friends" on Facebook, some have hundreds, even thousands of friends. I think we may have many acquaintances, but true friends usually are limited in number. Jesus called the Twelve Apostles friends. He also mentions the reason for his friendship: "I have told you everything I have heard from my Father." Friends share what they know, share their experiences. Therefore one must know each other - and that takes time. He who dedicates no time for friendship will lose his friends. This also applies to the friendship with Jesus. This friendship deepens through the time that I invest in silence, prayer - time for Jesus. It is never a waste of time. How often, however, are many hours wasted in front of the TV!
Friendship thrives in that I'm interested in the other, that I share the joy and sorrow of my friend, that I participate on his worries. How friends stood by me in difficult times forms part of the strongest experiences of my life. Jesus shows how far commitment to a friend can go: "There is no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends." Jesus did that. Paul was overwhelmed when he realized how far Jesus’ personal friendship with him went: "He loved me and gave himself for me."
What makes a friendship last? When friends agree in what they want, when they find their joy in being one of mind with their friend. Therefore friendship with Jesus means: "You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you." One more question: can you have a friendship with God? He - invisible and eternal, we – mortal creatures! Jesus has bridged precisely that gap. He is God and man. So we can become friends even with God. "