Saturday of Week 4 of Easter – Gospel

Commentary on John 14:7-14

Once again we have to be thankful for a disciple’s question.  Jesus has just said that those who really know him also know his Father.  In fact, he says, they have already seen him.  But, after all this talk about the Father, Philip, the naive one, is puzzled.

Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.

Perhaps, like some of the other Jews, he was expecting some dramatic sign, some striking manifestation of the Father.

Jesus replies patiently:

Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, but if you do not, then believe because of the works themselves.

Philip still lacked that faith that could see the Father clearly working in and through Jesus.

Of course, what Jesus says has to be understood properly.  In a sense, when we see Jesus we do see the Father; but in another sense, we do not see the Father, at least not fully.  When Jesus speaks, the Father speaks; when Jesus forgives, the Father forgives; when Jesus heals, the Father heals; when Jesus gives life, it is the Father who gives life.

Jesus is the Word of God; he is the utterance of God; he is God expressing himself and communicating himself to us.  In his person, Jesus is totally united with the Father.  But in Jesus’ humanity, which is where we meet him, the Father only comes through in the dimmest fashion.  As Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth:

For now we see only a reflection, as in a mirror, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor 13:12)

The love that Jesus shows is the love of the Father, but reflected through his human nature, it is only the faintest image of the full reality of that love.  It is so important for us to understand this. That is why Jesus calls himself the Way – he is the Way, not the End.  The Father is the End and Goal of all living.

And so Jesus goes on to make a statement that at first seems strange:

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.

How can we possibly do greater, far greater things than Jesus?  Yet, in a way, it is very true.

Because of his human nature, Jesus’ accomplishments were limited during his short time here on earth. He lived in one very small place, likely spoke only one language, although he might have picked up a smattering of Greek; he reached relatively few people and was intimate with only a small number.

There are many Christians today who, with the means of travel and communications available to them, can bring the message of Jesus to far greater numbers and often more efficiently.  The pope in a major address or at a Christmas Mass can reach a potential audience of billions through television, radio and via the Web. Jesus could do none of these things.

Jesus, now in his risen Body, the Church, can indeed “do greater works than these”, and this was made possible by his going back to the Father and passing on his work into our hands.  Given the instruments at our disposal, we have a great responsibility to do those “greater works”.

But to do that work we need, of course, to rely on the help and guidance of Jesus through his Spirit.  As he says in conclusion today:

If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

He has left us but is still with us.

And to pray in his name is not just to use his name like a talisman or charm.  In invoking Jesus’ name, we also fully identify ourselves with his Way and his will.  It is not an invitation to make any kind of arbitrary request to suit our own personal whims.  Primarily, it is to ask his help in spreading his Gospel.  That is a prayer which he will surely answer.

Comments Off on Saturday of Week 4 of Easter – Gospel

Printed from LivingSpace - part of Sacred Space
Copyright © 2024 Sacred Space :: :: All rights reserved.