1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
we praise and thank you on the feast
of your apostles Philip and James.
Through them many have come to know
that Jesus is alive and risen.
May we too be good witnesses
to the risen Jesus
by the way we live his risen life,
even though we are flawed and weak,
that people may find through us
the way to the Father of Jesus our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading – John 14,6-14
Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.
Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, so how can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
What I say to you I do not speak of my own accord: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his works. You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe it on the evidence of these works. In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
• Today’s Gospel, the Feast of the Apostles Philip and James, is the same one as we meditated on during the 4th week of Easter, and narrates the request of the Apostle Philip to Jesus: “Show us the Father, and that is enough for us”.
• John 14, 6: I am the way, I am Truth and Life: Thomas had addressed a question to Jesus: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (Jn 14, 5). Jesus answers: “I am the way, I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me”. Three important words. Without the way, we cannot walk. Without the truth one cannot make a good choice. Without life, there is only death! Jesus explains the sense. He is the way, because no one “comes to the Father except through me”. And he is the gate through which the sheep go in and out (Jn 10, 9). Jesus is the Truth because looking at him, we are seeing the image of the Father. “If you know me, you will know my Father too!” Jesus is Life, because walking like Jesus we will be united to the Father and will have life in us!
• John 14, 7: To know Jesus is to know the Father. Thomas had asked: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus answers: “I am the way, I am Truth and Life! No one comes to the Father except through me”. And he adds: “If you know me, you will know my Father too. From this moment you have known him and have seen him”. This is the first phrase of today’s Gospel. Jesus always speaks about the Father, because it was the life of the Father that appeared in everything that he said and did. This continuous reference to the Father causes Philip to ask the question.
• John 14, 8-11: Philip asks: “Show us the Father and then we will be satisfied!” It was the desire of the disciples, the desire of many persons of the communities of the Beloved Disciple and it is the desire of many people today. What do people do to see the Father of whom Jesus speaks so much? Jesus’ answer is very beautiful and it is valid even today: “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!”People should not think that God is far away from us, at a distance and unknown. Anyone who wants to know how and who is God the Father, it suffices for him to look at Jesus. He has revealed him in the words and gestures of his life! “The Father is in me and I am in the Father!” Through his obedience, Jesus has totally identified himself with the Father. At every moment he did what the Father told him to do (Jn 5, 30; 8, 28-29.38). This is why in Jesus, everything is the revelation of the Father! And the signs or works are the works of the Father! As people say: “The son is the face of the father!” This is why in Jesus and for Jesus, God is in our midst.
• John 14, 12-14: The Promise of Jesus. Jesus makes a promise to say that his intimacy with the Father is not a privilege only for him, but it is possible for all those who believe in him. We also, through Jesus, can be able to do beautiful things for others as Jesus did for the people of his time. He intercedes for us. Everything that people ask from him, he asks the Father and obtains it, always if it is to serve. Jesus is our defender. He leaves but he does not leave us without defence. He promises that he will ask the Father and the Father will send another defender and consoler, the Holy Spirit. Jesus even said that it is necessary that he leaves, because otherwise the Holy Spirit will not come (Jn 16, 7). And the Holy Spirit will fulfil the things of Jesus in us, if we act in the name of Jesus and observe the great commandment of the practice of love.
4) For Personal confrontation
• Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life. Without the way, without Truth and without life we cannot live. Try to make this enter your conscience.
• Two important questions: who is Jesus for me? Who am I for Jesus?
5) Concluding Prayer
The heavens declare the glory of God,
the vault of heaven proclaims his handiwork,
day discourses of it to day,
night to night hands on the knowledge. (Ps 19,1-2)
This reflection is thanks to the good Carmelites at ocarm.org