After the address and the Marian prayer, the Pope congratulated the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians Photo: Vatican Media

Pope explains why Jesus calls his disciples friends and no longer servants

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Regina Coeli on Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 05.06.2024).- Around 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to accompany the Pope in the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer and to listen to his Sunday address. The address revolved around the Gospel of the sixth week of the liturgical season of Easter (John 15:15). After the address and the Marian prayer, the Pope congratulated the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians who were celebrating Easter that Sunday according to the Julian calendar. Below is the translation into English of the Pope’s words:


Today the Gospel tells us about Jesus who says to the Apostles: “I do not call you servants any longer, but friends” (cf Jn 15:15). What does this mean?

Fedeli e pellegrini in Piazza San Pietro

In the Bible the “servants” of God are special people, to whom He entrusts important missions, such as, for example, Moses (cf. Ex 14:31), King David (cf. 2 Sam 7:8), the prophet Elijah (cf. 1 Re 18:36), up to the Virgin Mary (cf. Lk 1:38). They are people in whose hands God places His treasures (cf. Mt 25:21). But all of this is not enough, according to Jesus, to say who we are for Him, it is not enough: He wants more, something greater, that goes beyond goods and plans themselves: it takes friendship.

Since childhood we learn how beautiful this experience is: we offer friends our toys and the most beautiful gifts; then, growing up, as teenagers, we confide our first secrets to them; as young people we offer loyalty; as adults we share satisfactions and worries; as seniors we share the memories, considerations and silences of long days. The Word of God, in the Book of Proverbs, tells us that “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (27:9). Let us think a moment of our friends, and thank the Lord for them! A space for thinking about them…

Friendship is not the fruit of calculation, nor of compulsion: it is born spontaneously when we recognize something of ourselves in the other. And, if it is true, a friendship is so strong that it does not fail even in the face of betrayal. “A friend loves at all times” (Pr 17:17) – states the Book of Proverbs again – as Jesus shows us when He says to Judas, who betrays Him with a kiss: “Friend, why are you here?” (Mt 26:50). A true friend does not abandon you, even when you make mistakes: he corrects you, perhaps he reproaches you, but he forgives you and does not abandon you. 

Fiéis na Praça São Pedro

And today Jesus, in the Bible, tells us that for Him we are precisely this, friends: dear people beyond all merit and expectation, to whom He extends His hand and offers His love, His Grace, His Word; with whom – with us, friends – He shares what is dearest to Him, all that He has heard from the Father (cf. Jn 15:15). Even to the point of making himself fragile for us, of placing Himself in our hands without defence or pretence, because He loves us. The Lord loves us, as a friend He wants our good and He wants us to share in his.

And so let us ask ourselves: what face does the Lord have for me? The face of a friend or of a stranger? Do I feel loved by Him as a dear person? And what is the face of Jesus that I show to others, especially to those who err and need forgiveness?

May Mary help us to grow in friendship with Her Son and to spread it around us.

Thank you for reading our content. If you would like to receive ZENIT’s daily e-mail news, you can subscribe for free through this link.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation