Believe me . . . or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Because of Philip’s personal history with Jesus, we may wonder how he could possibly say, “Show us the Father” . After all, Jesus, the way to the Father, was standing in front of him and James and all the other apostles. Plus, Jesus had just declared, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father”. But maybe we should go easy on Philip. Here we are, two thousand years and twenty-one councils later, and even we can have trouble understanding what God is up to!
Recall how Jesus responded to Philip. He said, “The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me . . . or else, believe because of the works themselves”. Jesus was encouraging him not to give up when he couldn’t understand, but to keep asking, seeking, and knocking for the answers.
We may not understand everything. We may feel as if we don’t understand anything. But we can shift our focus from what we can’t understand to what we can grasp.
For example, you may not be able to wrap your mind around how Jesus is present in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine. But you can marvel that Eucharistic celebrations happen every day all over the world.
Perhaps you’re having a hard time understanding a certain passage in Scripture, and it is weighing on your mind. “Will I ever learn?” you ask yourself. But you can remember how deeply Jesus blesses childlike faith.
Maybe you’re struggling to understand why you don’t always feel God’s presence when you pray. But you can try to dwell on ways you have already seen his work. You might sense his peace during a moment of early-morning tranquility. Or just the opposite: you might discover his sense of humor in the chaos of a messy situation. Let his workings, both great and small, stir your faith!
Philip and James’ stories didn’t end with Scripture. These two men went on to become two of the evangelists and martyrs who laid the very foundation of the Church. God was working then, even when they couldn’t see it. And he’s working now!
word among us