Friday, May 03, 2013

Master, Show Us the Father

Master, Show Us the Father

May 3, 2013
Feasts of Sts. Philip and James, Apostles

By Melanie Rigney

That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
Their message goes out throughout all the earth.  (Psalm 19:5)
Philip said to him, “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.” (John 14:8-10)

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. (Nicene Creed)

Pity Philip.

Millions, maybe billions of words have been written about the dogma of the Holy Trinity, about how Christians believe in one God existing in three persons, distinct in their origin and yet one God. The Fourth Council of the Lateran would put it this way: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.”

Of course, Lateran Council IV was twelve hundred years away at the time, and Philip had heard his friend Jesus talk time and again about his father. Not surprising, then, that he thought actually seeing that being would clear up the whole thing once and for all.

But a complete understanding of theology wasn’t necessary for Philip or for James (believed to be James the Lesser, as he was younger than James, the son of Zebedee). Both went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, and both paid the price with their earthly lives.

Did Philip ever fully understand about his friend and his Father? Do we? Perhaps many of us aren’t intellectually capable of fully comprehending how it all works. Perhaps it’s enough to simply have the faith to believe what Jesus told us… and to love.

Talk with your pastor or spiritual adviser about your understanding of the Holy Trinity. Or, spend some time today with the Nicene Creed, thinking about each clause and what you profess to believe every time you say the words.

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