Saturday, May 9, 2009

Show Us The Father, And That Will Be Enough For Us.

Jn 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples: "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 Jesus, "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 timeand 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."

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

I should hope so! There is no better answer to Philip’s request than the one Jesus gives, “Don’t you know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” This is a clear expression of the intimacy between Jesus and the Father. The Son cannot be understood except in relationship with the Father; nor can the Father be understood except in relationship with the Son. “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.” Or, elsewhere in John’s gospel, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). But never does Jesus say, “I am the Father.” Between Father and Son there is a vital relationship, but at the same time, a vital distinction.

“The one who has faith in me will also do the works I do.” In one sentence, “faith” and “works” together. There have been centuries of discussion about the true meaning of these words. What is clear, though, is that Jesus is not referring to some sleight of hand performed by a city slicker for the folks in Kansas. It is action that flows from living faith. As Paul expressed in Galatians, “the only thing that counts is faith, faith that works through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

But Jesus does not stop there. “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater works that these, because I am going to the Father”. At the Seder banquet which he shared with his disciples, the greatest work of Jesus is yet to come: his death, his resurrection, his ascension, and, last but certainly not least, his sending the Spirit. At Pentecost, which we will celebrate on the last day of this month, the Spirit will be poured out in abundance on the disciples of Jesus who take him at his word.

With this in mind, take a moment to be quiet with Jesus, who is close to you right now, waiting for you to talk with him. Slowly, hesitantly, begin to speak from the heart. Begin with the prayer of the Publican in the Temple, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Express your faith that nothing is impossible for God, and your trust in his divine mercy. Then, in the name of Jesus, tear up the “shopping list”: the sins you feel guilty for one side of the page, the favors you think you need on the other. Conclude with these words: Jesus, you know what I need better than I do. Give me your grace. I trust in your love and your mercy. Amen.

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