Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Feast of Saints Philip and James, apostles

(I Corinthians 15:1-8; John 14:6-14)

St. Veronica is the legendary woman whose name is associated with a famous maneuver in bullfighting.  She is always portrayed as holding with both hands the cloth with which she wiped the face of Jesus and on which his image remains.  In bullfighting when the matador swipes the cape held with both hands before the charging bull, he has performed a veronica.   The name Veronica actually means true image, but in the gospel the true image does not refer to Veronica or her cloth, but to Jesus himself who is the perfect representation of God the Father.

The apostle Philip has trouble understanding Jesus when he says that anyone who has seen him has seen the Father.  “Show us the Father,” Philip requests, not out of defiance but from confusion. It is the same difficulty that Dan Brown and many others have in imagining that Jesus is really God.  “He was a remarkable man,” the skeptics say and then ask, “but how could he be the creator of the ever-expanding universe?”  It is this awesome wonder that makes the Incarnation one of the two core beliefs of Christianity.

Jesus invites us to believe in him by promising to empower us to work mighty deeds.  What does he have in mind – to turn water into wine?  No, one expert says, Jesus is not referring here to “the petty things of life.”  Rather he means to help us overcome lust, greed, and pride.  Even more, he promises to enable us to assist the poor who may repel us and love the enemy who might harm us.  In all these ways he prepares us to live with him in glory.