|Feast of Saints Philip and James,
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
Unfortunately, St. James will get short shrift in this reflection piece. No slight intended.
I remember reading somewhere that a person having a good question is the "son of the Son of God." I think there are two ways in which this is so. First, a good question draws out more of whatever reality is at hand. For this reason, I'd say that Philip actually has a good question. Notice what Jesus says before the question: "I am the way and the truth and the life...henceforth you know [the Father] and have seen him." That is quite wonderful.
But, after his question, look at the richness revealed beyond the original statement: "the Father who dwells in me" does these works.... Believe me...or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves...[whoever] believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these...because I go to the Father.... Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it... if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."
Jesus' words after Philip's question seems to open up what he, as the "way, truth, and life," actually mean here. Not only that, but it also seems to turn Philip's question on its head! It's more than just "being satisfied." It's about believing and doing greater works than Jesus did because he goes to the Father.
There's a second way in which the question can serve as the "son of the Son of God." This is a humbler way almost. For it involves taking seriously our most dear and dumb and embarrassing questions. In a real way, Philip's question was pretty lame, wouldn't you say?
Right, so, looking at questions in this way means honoring those very questions that plague us most: Why me? Why does this always happen? When will I change? Why can't I be like...? Why can't I have...? When will you take this away?
As we listen to such questions we might just find that these reveal our very vulnerable and hurt human natures that cry out to God for relief. We might just find that these show our unyielding project on behalf of SELF. We might just find that these speak from a desire for union and intimacy with God tinged with resentment for suffering and displacement. Remember, this is all about our dumb questions. I'm sure most of us have some pretty darn altruistic questions also.
But, these are great questions then, for they reveal some aspects
of the mystery of being human in the world that we, in our super-fast paced
world, tend to miss. It is to folks like James and Philip, like us
(people that ask both revelatory and dumb questions) that Jesus invites
to do "greater works than these" because he first descended from above
that he might ascend. Happy Easter weeks!
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