– Fr. Fernando Armellini MCJ
Claretian Publications, Macau
“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. 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. 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 oneself 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 to be performed in it, 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.
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 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 can go 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.