Gospel John 14:1-12
‘Have I been with you all this time… and you still do not know me?’
It is so easy to forget these fundamental things.
Jesus has developed such a large following, and the twelve, including Thomas and Philip, were especially close to him. We often think that they would have been ‘in the know’ the entire time, and yet, it seems that even right up until his death, they continued to misunderstand him – or perhaps they continued to fall back into modes of being that failed to account for the reality before them.
All that they had experienced, as astonishing as it was at the time, seemed to wear off all too quickly. Their ongoing encounter with the LORD, as incredible as it was, would quickly became mundane. Jesus, despite the extraordinary things that would happen in and through him, is so easily thought of for them as really just one of the lads.
This is often our own experience. Even though we may have experienced significant encounters with the living God, through the gaze of a loved one, through the kindness of a stranger, through a graced moment of an experience of beauty in the created world, or through exposure to a profound work of art; even though we are able to encounter God everyday through the Body of Christ on earth, the Church, we are all too easily lulled into a sense of the mundane. Our astonishment wanes, and we think to ourselves, ‘if only I could have been there to see Jesus perform these miracles, to experience Him first hand, this would be a memory that forever changed me, this would be the impetus to forever amend my life and follow him closely always.’
If the example of Philip and of Thomas in today’s reading is to teach us anything, it is that we are often fickle creatures, who struggle to really remember – not simply by calling to mind the things that have happened in the past, but by living out the promises which have been made to us.
Humanity’s encounter with the living God in the person of Jesus, while occurring in a particular way, at a particular time and in a particular place is, and remains ongoing.
Our struggle is to continuously live in the memory that all of existence remains forever changed because of the fact of the Incarnation.