May 3, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

John 14:6-14

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):

     When Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” He means that faith in His very person, not just in His words and works, brings us closer to God, our heavenly Father.  He clarifies this next by His answer to Philip’s request, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied,” which Jesus responds to with, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

     Our faith is a road from Abraham that runs through Israel’s salvation history; Jesus’ response is the great fork where we leave our rabbinic companions by the roadside.  For our Jewish brothers and sisters, God is unattainable, as far as the heavens from the earth, whose name they cannot even pronounce, whose face brings death.  However, for us, God is Jesus the Christ, who is fully human, like us in all things but sin.  He is also fully divine, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of the Father who lovingly says, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”  In fact, God is so accessible to humans that, in this pericope, the writer cites Philip in dialogue with Jesus.  Philip is a Greek name, a Gentile by Jewish standards, a person outside God’s covenant with Israel, as are we who are not Jews sharing in the ancestral heritage from Abraham.  Therefore, we can say that Christ shows us that God wants salvation for all humankind, that He is open to all, and that He reaches out to all.

     This is a great challenge set by our Lord, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”  God calls us to reach out to everyone, without discrimination, for salvation is available to all, no matter how different his or her color, culture, or creed may be from us.

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