Reflections

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter, May 18, 2019  

If you ask …in my name, I will do it
Introduction

In their particularism, the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia wanted to monopolize salvation, perhaps allowing pagans to share in it later through them. For this reason, they reject Christ, his Gospel and his missionaries. But no particularistic group can monopolize Christ. He came as the light of the whole world. By coming among us, Christ accepted people so to speak on their own terms, to save them in their own situation, mentality, and culture. So the Church of the apostles was to welcome not only Jews, but also pagans. So that the Church to be missionary today is by welcoming all and serving all. In this way, the Church will do as Christ did, be the sign of Christ to the world, show the distant God is close to and present in us. 

1 Reading: ACTS 13:44-52
On the following Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. 

Responsorial Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. or: R. Alleluia.

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm. R.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. R.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. R.

Alleluia John 8:31b-32
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel: John 14:7-14
Jesus said to his disciples: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” 

Commentary
Many people in the course of their lives echo the request of Philip: Show us the Father. Since God in himself is invisible and unseen, it is not unusual to hear the query, “What is God like?” And there are so many graphic representations of his being and nature.  The truth of the matter is that for the Christian the question has already been answered. God is like Jesus. To know the person and teaching of Jesus is to know God.
There are countless illustrations in the scriptures where this becomes evident. What, for example, is the lesson to be drawn from the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15)? God’s forgiveness is boundless. Whom does God resemble? The forgiving father. Or if we want to know where God’s concern lies in a particular way, we read the account of the final judgment (Matt 25). There we can see God’s love for the poor and underprivileged. Or for the suffering, as in the story of the Good Samaritan.
As we look at today’s reading from Acts of the Apostles, we see Paul and Barnabas rejected by their own people. Disappointment and persecution have become part of their ministry. But in looking upon Christ, they see the suffering that was part of his life. Yet God stood by the side of Christ, saw him through his mission, and ultimately brought him to victory. All of this is showing us the Father.
When Christians act in a Christlike manner, they too bring us the Father in different ways. The friend by our side in time of distress. The person who stays by our bedside in time of illness. The one who forgives and does not condemn when we make a serious mistake.
In the scriptures as well as in our personal experience, there are countless ways in which we are being shown the Father. 

Blessing
If we believe and love him deeply, we would like to see God, to know him better. Perhaps, we can show to the people around us a bit the face of God in our goodness and love. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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