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Knowing the Father through the Son
Feast of Saints Philip and James, 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.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, 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. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I want to truly know the Father through the Son and to be with you in the Holy Spirit for all eternity. I also wish to encounter you here, in prayer, right now. You continually show me the way to live my life through your words of eternal life and your deeds, and also by the example of saints like James and Philip. Let me conform my life to you.
- The Way: Today’s Gospel begins with a proclamation from Jesus about his identity: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” His earliest followers were energized, particularly with this notion that Jesus was “the way” in which they could encounter what had previously been considered a distant Father. The God of their ancestors had not been approached since Moses met him on Mount Sinai, and, even then, the Father remained hidden. It must have been exhilarating to hear their friend and teacher speak of “the way!” Of course, persecution and even martyrdom awaited those who chose to follow close to Our Lord on “the way.” How courageous this fledgling band of men and women were, aptly labeled people of “The Way.” Lord, let me never shy away from joyfully witnessing to you and your Way, encouraging others to follow you.
- The Truth: Pilate infamously asked Jesus en route to Calvary, “What is truth?” Ironically, Pilate was staring at Truth himself as he asked what he believed to be a rhetorical question. His answer was gazing back at him. St. James, who shares this feast day with St. Philip, wrote of the effects of this truth on each of us: “In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18). Let us praise the Lord for calling us with the “word of truth” into being and to eternal life in his presence. Let us not lose our way in this world dominated by a “dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive,” which is how Cardinal Ratzinger described these times in his final homily before becoming Pope Benedict XVI.
- The Life: When we contemplate life, we are prone to think of what sustains us here on Earth: breathing, eating, exercising, being in communion with others. But this life is “like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears” (James 4:14). Jesus taught about the Eucharist, causing many to leave him because of the “hard sayings”; Peter responded that he could not leave since Christ had “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Jesus Christ, indeed, not only gave his earliest followers a way to follow and a truth to savor, but also a life to live in fullness here and to take into eternity. Furthermore, as he promised prior to his Ascension, he did not leave us orphans. He grants us the grace to enter into his Kingdom, allowing his Church, the Holy Spirit, and his Eucharistic presence to guide and strengthen us for the journey.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you are the way, and the truth, and the life. Following you is not always easy and is often not popular. However, strengthened by your sacraments, I am determined to discern and do your will. Grant me the grace to live in your truth, for your glory, and not be deterred by difficulties that arise in this relativistic world.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray the glorious mysteries of the rosary, particularly thanking you for not leaving us orphans when you ascended to Heaven.
For Further Reflection: You may wish to read Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily in which he decried the “dictatorship of relativism.”
Andrew Rawicki and his wife, JoAnna, live in Irving, Texas, near eight of their ten grandchildren. A convert from Judaism, Andrew entered the Church in 1991 and has been a member of the Regnum Christi spiritual family since 2001. He has served as the Regnum Christi Local Director for Dallas since July 2020.
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