Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Philip does not ask about Jesus, whom he thinks he knows. Rather, he asks Jesus to show the disciples the Father. But Jesus responds by expressing surprise at how little Philip knows him: “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?” Then Jesus adds, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Unlike those of us obsessed with “making a name for ourselves,” or “being our own man (or woman),” Jesus comes not in his own name, but in the name of the Father who sent him. “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” Jesus does not speak on his own, but rather, “the Father who dwells in me is doing his works” (Jn 14:10).

When we persist in doing things on our own, in our own name, for our own glory or the glory of anyone or anything but that of the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then we serve an idol that promises us all things (above all our supposed independence!) but offers us nothing that is truly worthwhile. But Jesus offers us the incredible grace of sharing in his own Triune life—life for Another—through the Spirit of Love that animates those that believe in him. Such people believe, not only notionally or with their lips, but in such a way that they recognize him to be the source of their very being and the way to the Father. Jesus thus is the one whom they strive to follow in all their intentions, their thoughts, and their actions.

Jesus assures us that, “whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:12). What are these greater works? They are the works prompted in us by the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit should prompt us to feed five thousand, then we will ask it in Jesus’ name, and he will accomplish it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son (Jn 14:13-14). But, perhaps there is even a greater work than this that the Lord would have you accomplish in Jesus’ name, a work that seems so near to impossible that it would be proof to you of the greatness of God’s grace even more than if you fed five thousand. Perhaps there is a person in your life whom you find it incredibly hard to love, whom maybe you do not even want to love, or have tried and failed to love. But perhaps, if you were to live no longer in yourself, but were to abide in the Son, through his Holy Spirit, as the Son abides in the Father, perhaps you could accomplish this work, of actually loving and forgiving this person. Only you can accomplish this work, through your own free decision to accept Jesus’ help. This would be one of the “greater work than these” which Jesus assures us that we can do in his name to glorify the Father through the Son, and maybe this work, rather than feeding the five thousand, is what the Holy Spirit is asking of you now.

May 13th, 2017