On days when I don’t feel especially far along on the path toward God, I often think of the apostles for comfort. They sometimes appeared rather dense – not unwilling but just not able to grasp what Jesus was saying. Of course, I also feel sympathy for Jesus who must’ve been frustrated at those moments. One of the clearest examples of such a situation appears in this morning’s gospel (JN 14:7-14) and I always feel bad for Jesus when I read it. He is speaking to Philip about the fact that anyone who knows him (Jesus) also knows the Father (God). Philip says, “Master, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” In the response of Jesus I hear not only frustration but fatigue and disappointment that he hasn’t been able to make his point about who he is and the mission he has been given. Then comes the question that I hear not only as spoken to Philip but sometimes also to me. Jesus says, “Have I been with you for so long a time and still you do not know me?”
Jesus has been with me for my whole life, in the example and prayer of my parents, in school, in religious life. I’ve read hundreds of books and participated in numerous meaningful retreats and rituals and still sometimes I feel lax or lazy in my efforts at recognizing the God that Jesus preached and manifested. His question this morning is always a goad to renewal. As usually happens, my chosen morning “word” from a source other than the Scriptures is a perfect motivator. Here is what Macrina Wiederkehr just offered to me:
O Morning Song of Love, O you in whom we live and move and have our being! We have been asleep too long. Heal the unseeing part of our lives. Lead us to our awakening places. Awaken us to new light. Open the doors of our hearts, the windows of our souls, the walls of our minds. Awaken us to hope. Awaken us to joy. Awaken us to love. Awaken us to new insights. Make our hearts ready to receive the brightness of your presence. To you we give praise.
I can imagine that Jesus is happy to have the assistance of people like Macrina in moving people to know God as he knows God and wishes to show God to us all. I know I am similarly grateful today.