Mass Reading & Meditation for May 3, 2013
Meditation: John 14:6-14
Saints Philip and James, Apostles
Master, show us the Father. (John 14:8)
We know nothing for certain about what happened to either of these apostles after Jesus’ resurrection. However, the Gospel of John gives us several revealing glimpses of the apostle Philip. On several occasions, he was able to verbalize what others were thinking or wondering. We can only hope that Jesus’ responses moved all of them—especially Philip, who dared to ask the questions—along in their faith.
At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, it is Philip who tells his friend Nathanael about this rabbi from Nazareth (John 1:43-46). Instead of getting into a theological argument, he invites Nathanael to come meet Jesus for himself. And Jesus, who knows Nathanael inside and out, does the rest.
Before Jesus feeds a huge crowd, he asks Philip where they can get enough food for everyone (John 6:5). Philip expresses what everyone must have been thinking: There’s no way! But then he follows Jesus’ directions and shares in a miracle that reveals a food that lasts forever. When some Gentiles want to meet Jesus, Philip approaches the Master on their behalf (John 12:20-22). And in today’s passage, it is Philip who pleads for what they all want: “Show us the Father” (14:8).
Jesus seldom gives a straight-forward answer to Philip’s questions. Philip has to listen closely and turn Jesus’ words over in his mind before understanding what Jesus means. We don’t know the outcome for the Greeks and most of the people on the hillside, but we do know that Philip became sufficiently convinced to lay down his life for Jesus.
Perhaps you could stir up the gift Philip used so effectively by taking your questions to the Lord, even as you bring other people to him. Sometimes it will mean persisting in your own prayer until you hear the Lord answering your deeper concerns. Sometimes it will mean interceding for someone in the quiet of your heart, and other times it will mean delving into Scripture to build up your own understanding. Sometimes this will mean asking a friend, “Can we pray together about that?” and offering a simple prayer. Whatever you do, invite the Lord to be with you, and watch what he does.
“Jesus, teach me how to be a true friend, just as Philip was.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Psalm 19:2-5