In the First Reading I can envision Paul and Barnabus speaking
up and defending what Jesus had been telling the crowd. They, as disciples
of Christ, put their reputation and possibly their lives on the line to share
the Good News that had taken hold of their hearts. When reading the
Acts of the Apostles today I imagine these earlier followers as people who
were well aware of the resistance to believe that Jesus, this human, was
also God our Savior, as promised so many years before. Paul and Barnabus,
upon being expelled from the area left and continued to be 'Filled with
joy and the Holy Spirit.' The earlier followers and preachers/teachers
of a new faith in Jesus our God had to be bold people who were willing to
risk, in order to spread the word about the life of Jesus and his revolutionary
messages. They had to have a rough time going against the establishment,
talking about new ideas, being inclusive and displaying joy and excitement
about their faith in Jesus as God the Savior/the Redeemer.
I've often thought about what a great journey Paul had, as he traveled and
communicated with as many people as he could. While Jesus traveled
and communicated, only a small number of people actually got to 'see' Jesus
perform miracles or had a chance to actually 'hear' Him speak. It was
Paul and so many other disciples of Jesus who have spread the Good News by
their letters, their speeches, their lives and their excitement and deep
belief in Jesus as God.
In the reading from Psalms, which states, 'All the ends of the earth have
seen the saving power of God' I am struck by the idea again, of actually
seeing the saving power of God. I begin to wonder, 'Why do I so strongly
believe in the life of Jesus and know that He is, in fact, One of Three Persons,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit?' I wonder about Thomas, who lived at the
time of Jesus and who had such doubt. How and why do so many other
people and I believe in Jesus and the power of God through Him?
In today's Gospel Jesus states, 'Believe me that I am in the Father and
the Father is in me.' I have heard this reading/this phrase many,
many times in my life. As I read it today and thought about Philip's
statement to Jesus, 'Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough
for us,' I am almost amazed at the fact that I have received the gift
of faith so easily and so openly. Philip, lived with Jesus, heard Him
communicate, was witness to His miracles and yet Philip is still questioning
Jesus, The Father, Our God.
As I read Philip's questioning of Jesus I'm pausing, thinking about our own
son Philip, who is nineteen-years-old and is questioning the existence of
God. If Philip, (the disciple) of Jesus still could not understand
and accept the concept that Jesus was in fact Our Lord and Our God maybe
our son, Philip, is experiencing a common human phenomena that many people
go through in their faith journey. I am almost amazed when I think
of Philip's (the disciple) statement to Jesus. I wonder - how long
does it take until we get it? For our son, Philip, this is my struggle.
How long will it take until he gets it? Or my fear - will he ever get
'Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or
else, believe because of the works themselves.' I think I'll suggest
that our son take a college class on the life of Jesus. Maybe relearning,
at an adult level, the recorded historical miracles and the revolutionary
ideas of this man, Jesus, will help Philip with his faith journey.
I pray that he, too, may come to believe that Jesus had to be God and that
our son will be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, which has so enriched
and blessed my life and the lives of so many other people.