MONDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER
Feast of Saints Philip & James, Apostles
Reading 1: 1 Cor 15: 1-8 Focusing on the saving Gospel preached, Paul claims to have received the appearance of the Resurrected Jesus, like he appeared to James and the other apostles.
Gospel: Jn 14: 6-14 Philip asks Jesus, to show the Father to the apostles. Jesus claims oneness with the Father and assures the apostles saying: to have seen me is to have seen the father.
JESUS IS THE WAY TO THE FATHER
James, also called ‘son of Alphaeus’, and ‘James the Less’ though one of the Twelve, is not to be confused with James, one of the two sons of Zebedee, or with James, son of Clopas mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, a “brother” (cousin) of Jesus. Philip hailed from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. We see Jesus calling him directly, whereupon he went in search of Nathanael and told him regarding the “one about whom Moses wrote” (Jn 1:43-45). Philip comes across as someone who is rather innocent and naïve and one who takes some time to acknowledge the full identity of Jesus.
In the Gospel passage today Jesus tells Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, then you would have known my Father also. ” This is incomprehensible for Philip, and he requests Jesus, “Master, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” One can almost hear the sigh in Jesus’ voice as he affirms, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
Jesus’ reply asserts that he is the ‘way’ to the Father. To know the inner meaning of Jesus’ life and to make it our own is to know the Father because Jesus is the embodiment, the incarnation, and the visible face of the Father. There is no other way to God except through him and with him. To be like Jesus, then, is to be like God through our humanity. This is something not just for Christians, rather the Way for every human being who seeks a truly meaningful life.
The example of Philip and James should be a lesson to us of how God can carry out his plans through people. By preaching the gospel everywhere, the apostles sowed the seed of a worldwide community, against which the ‘gates of hell’ would not prevail. It is a message to each one of us that, no matter what our gifts or lack of them, we too are called to pass on the Good News of Christ to show others the ‘way’ to the Father.
Resp. Psalm: Ps 18: 2-5 Their sound goes forth through all the earth
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