Thomas and Philip Ask Questions
In our first reading today, there is an argument between the Greeks and the Jewish people. The community of both Jews and Gentiles are learning how to worship with one another, and how to resolve their differences. The widows always ate first and the Greeks were complaining that their widows were being neglected. The people were learning how to get along with one another- the Greeks and the Jews. They were not accustomed to this universal church. So, the Apostles ordained Deacons to serve the Church. We have been blessed to have active Permanent Deacons in the Church.
Today’s Gospel shows the close relationships the Apostles had with Jesus. Both Thomas and Philip, who clearly needed to understand more, had the freedom to ask Jesus questions. They were free to express their doubts, and their lack of understanding. They were willing to follow Jesus even though they did not entirely understand.
After Jesus said that He is going to the Father, Thomas has the courage to speak up in front of his fellow Apostles, and in front of Jesus. He confesses - “Lord, we do not know where you are going.” This may have been on everyone’s mind, but Thomas was the one to say it out loud. Thomas gives us permission to ask questions. Thomas shows us the importance of expressing ourselves, and deepening our knowledge about Christ. Each of us has questions. Each of us wants to know more. We all wish that we could more fully understand the scriptures, and to have a deep understanding about Jesus. Thomas’ question, “ how can we know the way,” gave Jesus the opportunity to give an answer what we all want to know.
1) How do we get to where we are going- Jesus is the way,
2) Who who can we rely to tell us the truth, Jesus is the truth, and
3) What does the truth lead to, life- Jesus is the life
Our questions about life are answered by Jesus’ simple but profound answer-- Follow Jesus as the way to the truth and to life. In today’s society, we have many options and a lot of opinions. Everyone on television, or the web, or talk radio has an opinion. Which opinion should we follow? Who exactly is speaking the truth? Today, we discover that Jesus is the truth. It is in following Jesus that we have life, not only a joyful life on earth, but for all eternity. Thank you, Thomas, for having the courage to ask the question, and to admitting that he did not fully understand.
Next is Philip, one of the first to follow Jesus. He is the one who said to Andrew. We have “found the Messiah.” Clearly, he trusted Jesus even though he may not have understood all that Jesus was talking about. Jesus had always talked about the Father, and now almost three years later, Thomas asks, “(Can you) show us the Father.” Jesus is surprised by the question, yet it gives Jesus the opportunity to explain that He is the manifestation of the Father. Jesus, who is God, makes God visible to us.
The Gospel shows that the Apostles directly interacted with Jesus in a very natural way. They were not afraid to express themselves. They did not need to pretend to be someone else, or to show that they knew everything. They were not out to impress one another.
They were free in their relationship with Jesus - not afraid or intimidated. Jesus did not hold their lack of understanding against them.
Today, we are free to express our questions before the Lord. We are free to tell God that we do not understand everything. We can admit our doubts, fears, and lack of understanding. As disciples, we can tell others that Jesus will love them for who they are.
During this week, we can take time to list our questions. In personal prayer, we can make our questions known. Jesus answers all of our questions, when He says—I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.