Friday, May 3, 2019

Feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, apostles

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

Try standing on one foot with your eyes closed. If you last fifteen seconds, consider your balance remarkable. Eyes open and focused make the same feat easy. As sight enhances balance, Jesus' disciples need a new source of vision to understand what he is talking about in today’s gospel.

The reading begins with Jesus responding to a remark made by Thomas.  The latter said that since the disciples do not know where Jesus is going, they cannot know the way.  Jesus tells him that to know him is to know the Father.   Now Philip, whose feast day we are celebrating, speaks up.  He obtusely asks Jesus to show the disciples the way to the Father.  It should have been obvious to him and the other disciples that the Father is in Jesus and he is in the Father.  They have only to look at him to find the Father.  But they have trouble seeing this truth because it requires the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will come shortly with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

The Spirit provides us with a new way of seeing. It is like a physician having a MRI when making a diagnosis or a soldier having a night vision device on midnight patrol. His presence allows us to accept Jesus' teaching as not so much demanding as life-giving.  From it we know that Jesus will assist us in our every need.