5th Sunday of Easter – Year A
Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF
Gospel: John 14:1-12 （若14：1-12）
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where (I) am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 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 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. 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.
Homily: Only One Life but Many Services
“In my Father’s house there are many rooms... Yet you know the way where I am going” (vv. 2-4). Jesus means to say that he has to go through a difficult “path.” He adds that his disciples would have to know very well that “way” because he often spoke of it.
Thomas replies on behalf of all, “We do not know this ‘way’ and we cannot guess where you want to go.” Jesus explains: he himself will be the first to run the “way.” Once his mission is accomplished, he will be back and will take the disciples with him. He will infuse them with his courage and strength, so they will be enabled to follow in his footsteps.
The “way” is the difficult path toward Easter. It demands the sacrifice of life. Jesus talked about it many times, but the disciples were always reluctant to understand. When he insisted on the “gift of life,” they preferred to be distracted, thinking about something else.
In this perspective, the question about “the seats in the Father’s house” becomes clear. Whoever has agreed to follow the “way” traveled by Jesus finds themselves immediately in the kingdom of God, in the Father’s house! This house is not paradise but the Christian community. There are many places, that is, many services, many tasks to be performed in it. The “many places” are nothing but the “various ministries,” the different situations in which everyone is required to make available to the brethren one’s own capacity, the many gifts received from God.
The second part of today’s Gospel is centered on the question of Philip, “Lord, show us the Father and that is enough.” Philip seems to be an interpreter of this intimate yearning of the human heart. He knows that “no one has ever seen God” (Jn 1:18), because “he lives in unapproachable light and whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Tim 6:16); but also recalls the bliss reserved for the pure of heart, “for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8), and thinks that Jesus can satisfy his secret aspiration. He presents such a demand that seems to echo those expressed by Moses and the psalmists.
In his response, Jesus shows the way to see God. One needs to look at him. He is the human face that God has taken to manifest himself, to establish a relationship of intimacy, friendship, communion of life with people. He is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), “the radiance of God’s glory and bears the stamp of God’s hidden being” (Heb 1:3).
To know the Father, there is no need to make any arguments or reasoning. It is not worth it to get lost in inadequate philosophical investigations. It is sufficient to contemplate Jesus, to observe what he does, says, teaches, how he behaves, loves, whom he prefers, attends to, caresses, and from whom he lets himself be caressed, with whom he dines, he chooses, defends… because the Father does so. The works that Jesus fulfill are those of the Father (v. 10).
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus affirms (v. 9). It is a gaze of faith that is required, a look that goes beyond appearances, beyond the purely material datum, a look that captures the revelation of God in the works of Jesus. This seeing is equivalent to believing.