YEAR A: HOMILY FOR 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’” (John 14:8-9)
BY: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
HOMILY: John 14:1-12
It’s been long-time Catholic tradition to begin each day with a very brief prayer offering oneself to God’s good use in the hours of wakefulness to follow. As a little kid, I remember yawning and wiping slumber from my eyes as I prayed the prayer I’d been taught: “O my Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for Thy greater honor and glory, the salvation of my soul, for the intentions of our Holy Father, and for the poor souls in Purgatory. Amen.”
Now, generations later, as still I yawn and wipe slumber from my eyes, the prayer is briefer: “Lord, please use me for good this day.” As a little kid, I’d no real idea what I was saying. As an adult, I know too well. I know it’s in me to spend my waking hours selfish and ill-tempered. So I pray: “Lord, please use me for good this day. May those whose lives I touch know you through me.”
In the gospel passage we hear today, we find Jesus, in conversation with his disciples, making reference to his Father, his Father’s house, and Jesus’ imminent departure to his Father. Unable to understand what Jesus is talking about, “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’” (John 14:8-9).
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I can picture Jesus staring wide-eyed at these disciples and thinking them complete dopes! Thinks Jesus: don’t they know that I’m the Son of the Heavenly Father? Don’t they yet understand that to know me is to know the Heavenly Father? Have I been wasting my time here?
And if those first disciples had trouble seeing the Heavenly Father in the person of his Son, Jesus, it’s no surprise that our contemporary world is nearly blinded to the presence of the Father and his Son. Why, we ask? Because, I believe, many of us 21st century Christians do not hear God’s whispered words with each new day’s dawn: “I need your heart, your mind, your mouth and your strength this day to love my world. Will you give them to me?” And hearing the divine summons, we respond, “Yes, Lord, use me for good this day. May those whose lives I touch know you through me.”
In our own day, Jesus still begs to be recognized as he walks among us in every sort of human depravity and need. And too often we find ourselves as blind as was Philip and the other disciples, blind to the God who walks among us, blind to the possibility we can make a difference in a world so full of suffering. But American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead offers us the same challenge that Jesus offered his very first disciples: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
God whispered to each of us this morning at the breaking of dawn, “I need your heart, your mind, your mouth and your strength this day to love my world. Will you give them to me? Will you?”
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