May 3, 2019
(Ss. Philip and James (Lesser), Apostles)
Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jn 14:6-14
Sometimes we have to wonder if the Apostles, especially Thomas and Philip, from what was written of them, were not ancestors of the early Missourians, because, as zealous in their faith as they were, they would just not believe every aspect of what Jesus was telling them, unless they saw it for themselves. We might call them “the Show-me Apostles!”
But, you know what? I think the concept of “Seeing is believing,” goes far beyond just Thomas and Philip. I think, to some extent, that skepticism is ingrained in all of us; especially in a society overwhelmed with dishonest salesmanship and media lies. . . .
We’re hesitant to buy that car, or to vote that candidate, or to support that cause, unless we’ve proven to ourselves that what was said about them was really true. And that aspect of human nature is not just modern. Even Pilate asked Jesus, what “Truth” was, some 2000-years ago.
By the time Jesus made this statement about Himself and His Father that we heard in John’s Gospel today, He had been together with the Apostles for 3-long years. You would think that after all that time, they would have finally got it: they would have fully understood that Jesus and His Father are One, both in “works” and in “word.”
And in the same vein, you would think that after 60, or 80, or 90-some years of Christian Life, WE would finally get those concepts of death, and salvation, and eternal life, so thoroughly, that there would be absolutely no hesitation, no fragment of a doubt about a Heaven that we’ve never seen, but have been preached about, for a zillion times. We should be so incredibly excited about Heaven, that, like a child on Christmas Eve, we just can’t wait to open that most magnificent Gift of God to us.
And yet, we also know that our time is NOT God’s time. We know that if we open that package before it’s time (death), it will be empty. And that “its time” may just require a little suffering, a little aging, a little preparation.
We know that the skepticism of our human natures still lives within us. And we know that Life is NOT about anxiously awaiting Christmas, but it IS about living every day instead, as if it were.
Today, both St. Paul and Jesus are emphasizing the importance of works in our Faith. And St. James strengthens that notion of works and Faith in his letter to the dispersed, Jewish Christian faithful of the late-First Century.
For, you see, it’s through those works, and in that Faith in Jesus, that we are given the opportunity to make every-day another Christmas, both for ourselves and for others.
Philip, James, Thomas, Paul and Jesus all gave their lives working to spread that Gospel message of God’s love for us. And in our Creed, we profess that we believe in ALL things visible and INVISIBLE.
So, YES, we may be from the “Show-Me State” of Missouri. And YES, we may still have that discerning, skeptical nature of humanity within us. But, thanks be to God, through our Faith in Jesus and in our works of Love for one another, we know that everything we do as Catholic Christians, is done for the Glory of God and for the Building of that INVISIBLE Kingdom that binds us together, forever in His love.
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