April 24, 2005 - Year A - Easter 5
14 • 1 “Do not be troubled; trust in God and trust in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many rooms. Otherwise I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. 3 After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to me, so that where I am, you also may be. 4 Yet you know the way where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. 7 If you know me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know him and you have seen him.”
8 Philip asked him,“Lord, show us the Father and that is enough.” 9 Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever sees me sees the Father; how can you say: ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
All that I say to you, I do not say of myself. The Father who dwells in me is doing his own work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do.
12 Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. 13 Everything you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 And everything you ask in calling upon my Name, I will do.
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• 14.1 THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
After the washing of the feet, John continues with Jesus’ three farewell discourses to his apostles. Those who had lived intimately with him for several months, would soon need to discover another way of living with the risen and present, though invisible, Christ. “I was with you,” says Jesus (vv. 9 and 25); henceforth, “I will be in you.” The first of these discourses is found in chapter 14.
Jesus’ ascension to the Father was not just an individual achievement, but opened for all of us a way to our House, not situated high above us, but in God. There are many mansions (v. 2), that means that there is also a place for us: not just one mansion for everybody, but a place for each one, because Heaven is not like a performance which is the same for everyone in the audience. God’s radiance will draw from each one the resonance only he can bring forth. Each one will be in his own mansion, being in communion with all.
Now, knowing what is the goal, we should walk towards this definitive communion. “I am the way,” says Jesus. He became human precisely so that we might see the Father in him. He followed his way, so disconcerting for us, so that, meditating on his actions, we would progress towards the truth. Although in the beginning we may not understand him well, with time, we will discover the Lord and understand that his way is ours. Passing through the cross and death, we will achieve our own truth and arrive at life.
I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, and you in me (vv. 11 and 20). Christ makes us enter into the divine family. Thus, we no longer speak of approaching God as if he were far from us. We no longer feel as if God were a single person in front of us. We enter “into” the mysterious life of the divine Persons who share everything and who are the one and only God. Material things cannot penetrate each other; but in the world of the spirit such is possible. Christ is in the Father and the Father in him. They make their home within us (v. 23).
In the introduction to the Gospel, John explained that all of God’s actions in the world should be understood in the light of the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. Now he adds that the presence of God in us is due to another person, the Holy Spirit. Neither the Father alone, whom no one has seen, nor the Son, who made himself known, can enter into communion with people. They can, however, do so by means of the Spirit, whom we should call: God who is communicated. Hence we call spiritual life everything that refers to our relationship with God.
The spiritual life includes three elements:
keeping the words of Jesus: meditating on them, putting them into practice and letting them take root in our soul.
then, instructed by the Spirit regarding what we should ask in Jesus’ name, let us ask, with all confidence, for those things that he himself desires.
finally, let us do the same things he did. He did not multiply good works, but completed that which his Father asked him to do, even when his obedience would seem to us a vain sacrifice.
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Comments by Wesley
1. Thomas leads us in an ABBA stanzaic pattern.
A - I'll take you
This keeps a pattern in John of comment, a questioning conversation, and a teaching.
2. Philip continues with an extension of this conversation. Here you can substitute the word "Way" for the word "Father." Jesus cannot show a static GOD from afar. There is need of an active Way to show an active GOD. Everything Jesus did was evidence of this movement of life.
3. We need to continue the conversation in our day. Here also we can do a substitution of words. In the place of "believes" try on "travels with me."
Belief as a static category without the active participation with and application of what is believed ultimately leads to propaganda separated from reality.
When we travel with Jesus in our day there will be the natural and expected outcome of extending what Jesus did into more and more nooks and crannies of life. It is, of course, important to determine what you think the works of Jesus were. Were they teachings that would constrain all further thought (The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it)? Were they interactions with people that led them the next step along the way to spiritual maturity (Stage by stage we experience greater learning and greater growth)?
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