Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Wednesday Catechesis-Philip the Apostle

"Come and See" "Show us the Father"

From Asia News Italy:

Benedict XVI started out from the gospel episode in which Philip exhorted the hesitant Nathaniel to get to know Jesus, telling him: “’Come and see!’ (Jn 1:46). In this reply, dry but clear, Philip shows the marks of a true witness: he is not content with making his announcement, rather he appeals directly to the interlocutor, suggesting that he himself undergoes the personal experience announced.” The pope continued: “We could imagine it is to us that Philip is addressing these two verbs, which presuppose a personal involvement. The apostle urges us to get to know Jesus close at hand. In effect, friendship requires closeness; in fact, it partly lives from this. Besides, we must not forget that, according to what Mark wrote, Jesus chose the Twelve with the primary scope that they should ‘be with him’; (Mk 3:14), that is, they should share his life and learn directly from him, not only his way of behaving but above all, who he was. Later, the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians would say that the important thing is to ‘learn Christ’ (4:20), that is, not only and not so much to listen to his teachings as much as to recognize him in person, his humanity and divinity, his mystery and his beauty. He is in fact not only a Teacher, but a Friend, no, a Brother. How could we get to know him deeply while keeping a distance? Intimacy, familiarity, habit lead us to discover the true identity of Jesus Christ. There: this is exactly what the apostle Philip is reminding us of.”

Benedict XVI then recalled the reply that Jesus gave to Philip when, during the Last Supper, he had asked him to show them the Father. ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? 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? ... Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me’ (Jn 14:9-11). Jesus refers to himself thus, implying that it is possible to understand him not only through what he says, but even more simply through who he is. To express ourselves through the paradox of the Incarnation, we could well say that God gave himself a human face, that of Jesus, and consequently, from that moment on, if we really want to know the face of God, we need to do nothing else other than contemplate the face of Jesus!”

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