HE WHO HEARS YOU, HEARS ME. HE WHO REJECTS YOU REJECTS ME. AND HE WHO REJECTS ME REJECTS HIM WHO SENT ME. The Lord Jesus was keenly aware of his life as a mission from the Father to his own people. This consciousness of representing his heavenly Father was already dominant from the time of his emergence from childhood. St. Luke reports that at the age of twelve Jesus had a strong conviction that he must be occupied with his Father’s business. He considered this so decidedly the case that he felt it would be evident to his mother as well as to himself. When she found him in the temple after she had sought him with great anxiety for three days his reaction was to reproach her for not realizing, as he put it, “that I must be about my Father’s concerns” (Luke 249).
Later in his ministry he claimed that his witness was true for it was supported by his Father who was with him. When his critics challenged him to prove this he simply replied that the reason they resisted him was that they neither know him nor the Father (John 8:19). In other words, in order to be united with the Lord by accepting his witness, one must have learned to see how Christ is one with the Father, not only representing him in his mission but making him present.
This claim of our Lord that he is so united with the Father that in him the Father is present and acting is the basis of the declaration we have just heard in today’s Gospel text. HE WHO HEARS YOU, HEARS ME. HE WHO REJECTS YOU REJECTS ME. AND HE WHO REJECTS ME REJECTS HIM WHO SENT ME ‘ This teaching was on another occasion supplemented by a further statement which lends an added dimension to the issue of giving credence to Jesus word and placing our trust in his person. For he made obedience to his teaching the expression and test of love. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14: 15) The hearing Jesus mentions in our text includes both faith and obedience. To hear his words is to put faith in them and to apply them to life in obedience to their directives.
Further, as he tell us here, just as the Father speaks in him so he speaks in those he sends in turn to spread his word by their witness and their preaching. The condition for accepting Christ, then, and understanding the revelation he brings from the Father is the ability to penetrate beyond the surface of Our Lord’s person and recognize in him with the eyes of the spirit a divine presence that is no one less than God, the Father almighty. With these same spiritual eyes, cleansed by faith, we must also see him in those he appoints as the teachers and preachers in his Church.
The eyes of our spirit are opened through the action of the Holy Spirit of God within us. The inner vision is the fruit of his love as well as of our own loving desire to see Christ in his words and the Father in Christ. In this way we come to know him in the reality of truth. Knowing him enables us to hear what he says to us and to carry it out, for his word is Spirit and life. And when his Spirit lives and moves in us we have the strength to live as Jesus lives united with the Father in all manner of doing and being.