Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.”
This is where I paused, at the above verse, and began my Gospel reflection. The Lord says, Whoever believes in me… will never die, will live forever, will be my disciple, will follow me, will suffer unjustly, will be my friends, will do greater things, will obey my commandment of love, will be light to the world, will rise from the dead.
In all His sermons, the Lord always gives and takes, “This is my body…take and eat.” He always proposes: Choose life or death. What we are to do is as clear and divided as black and white: We are to love (be selfless) or forever remain in darkness (selfish). Many are invited and we are to invite, but not many will follow the commandments of the Lord: to love God above all things and to love your neighbor as yourself, and so too many remain in darkness - covered in sin, covered in ignorance, in deceit and misdeeds. The Lord invites, he nearly begs his children to come into his life saving light – to live during the day and to sleep at night, to read and listen to his words and to stop creating their own. His words, are they not enough? His deeds, are they not enough? “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” The Lord did it all: enough said and enough given.
Whoever believes in me will live like me. Am I living like Christ or like one of his adversaries? Do I hold my tongue or do I spit out filth? Do I avoid confrontation or do I instigate it? Do I wail and grind my teeth or do I kneel in prayer? Do I save the soul or do I spread awful things about them? Do I follow the Lord in healing or do I seek to hound?
Whoever believes in me will be like me. Those who closely follow the Lord will experience what the Lord experienced: love, friendship, loneliness, misunderstanding, contempt, hatred, resentment, scorn, gossip betrayal and death. Those who do not follow the Lord may receive roughly the same. But for those who remain in darkness, who condemn and judge, the “word I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.”
While I was meditating on today’s Gospel passage, I recalled a story in the life of St. Philip Neri. A penitent sought forgiveness for spreading vicious rumors about an innocent man. St. Philip gave the man this penance: take a large bag of feathers and throw them into the air from the tallest building in Rome, afterwards pick them all up. The man replied, “I will never be able to find all the feathers!” St. Philip had made his point.
When we see Jesus, we see the Father. When people see you, who do they see?
God our Father, life of the faithful, glory of the humble, happiness of the just, hear our prayer! Fill our emptiness with the blessing of your Son’s body and blood, the foretaste of eternal joy. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.