4th Week of Easter (S)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Church, NOLA
It's a bit unnerving for me to wake up this morning and read in the gospel: “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?” I'm thinking: oh Lord, what I have done now?! What have I said or done to make Jesus think that I don't know him? I'm pretty sure that that list would be too long and too embarrassing to read aloud in public. I'd like to say that the “Philip” here isn't me. But he is me. What's worse: he's also all of you. Jesus' rather pointed question to Philip is a response to a request from Philip, a request any one of us could make: “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Would it? No, it wouldn't. Jesus knows this and so does Philip. And likely, we all know this too. How do we know that showing us the Father won't be enough for us? Well, being shown the Father has never been enough, has it? What is the Old Testament but the 5,000+ yr history of God showing Himself to His children and still we don't know Him? God gives it one more try in Christ Jesus. See him, know the Father. Great! Now, where do we go to see Jesus?
Where do we go to see Jesus?! Have you been a Christian for so long a time and you still do not know Christ? The better question is: where can a follower of Christ go and not see Jesus? He sends us out into the whole world to preach the Good News. He send us out to heal the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, free the oppressed, and forgive the sinner. He sends us out to bring in the stranger, the grieving, the poor, the meek. He send us out to plant the seeds of his word and deeds in every sort of human soil. We are sent out to overpower unclean spirits; to lift up those who are pushed down; to defend and nurture the least among us; to bear witness in body and soul to the sanctity of all life; and to make sure that there is no living sinner in the world who has not heard of the Father's freely granted pardon. Where do we go to see Jesus? “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. . .whoever believes in me will do the works that I do.” Do you believe in Christ? Trust in him? Then do the works that he did so that your works may reveal the Father working in you. If you want to know the Father, then you must be Christ for others. Go do his works through faith, then look in a mirror.
Will that be enough? No, it won't. The disciples travel with Jesus for three years. Day in and day out, they eat, sleep, walk, and talk with the Lord in person, sitting at his feet for personal instruction. And still they do not know the Father. What are they missing? They have yet to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. What they are missing is the fullness of the Spirit, the Love that the Father and the Son share between them. Their knowledge is not yet on fire; what they know has not yet been kindled and set ablaze by the One Who will remain with them (us) until the end. Doing the works that Christ does, and doing these works in faith, shows the world both the Father and His Holy Spirit, both the One Who Creates and the One Who blesses His creation. To know God fully, to know Him perfectly, we must go to see Him face-to-face, which means we must live now—right now—as if we were seeing His face in every man, woman, and child we meet; heart, mind, body, soul we must turn toward Him and see, hear, think, and feel only Him, and through faith in Him accomplish everything that He has sent us out to do. Will that be enough? No, it won't. In the end, He reaches for us; pulls us up, and welcomes us to His family. Our job is make sure He finds us doing what His Son sent us out to do.
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