Sts. Philip and James

Show us the Father. (John 14:8)

Philip and James, whose mem­ory we are honoring today, were among those Jesus had specially chosen as his apostles. So they had been with him for a few years already when Jesus told them and the rest of the twelve: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father” (John 14:7). But despite all their time together, they didn’t understand what he was talking about. So Philip asked: “Master, show us the Father” (14:8).

Perhaps disappointed at their lack of comprehension, Jesus gently reproached Philip: “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me?” (John 14:9).

What tremendous realities Jesus then went on to explain to Philip— realities that explain how we can now relate to God! “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father… . “I am in the Father and the Father is in me… . whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these” (John 14:9,11,12).

In Jesus, God, the incomprehensi­ble One, has taken on a human face. In Jesus, the immense gap between humankind and the Father has been bridged. In his encyclical God Is Love, Pope Benedict XVI reflected beauti­fully on this truth:

No one has ever seen God as he is. And yet God is not totally invisible to us; he does not remain completely inacces­sible… . In Jesus we are able to see the Father (John 14:9). In the love-story recounted by the Bible, he comes toward us, he seeks to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of his heart on the cross, to his appearances after the resurrection, and to the great deeds by which, through the activity of the Apostles, he guided the nascent church along its path (17).

Like Philip, we too long to know our heavenly Father. The good news is that now the desire of our hearts can be satisfied. For when we look into the loving eyes of Jesus, we can see his Father looking back at us!

“Jesus, how awesome it is that in you we can see the face of God! Thank you for being the way and the truth and the light leading us home to our heavenly Father.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Psalm 19:2-5