May 3, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Feast of Sts. Philip and James
Reading (1 Cor 15:1-8) Gospel (St. John 14:6-14)
Jesus says to Philip today that He and the Father are one, that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him, and that anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father. He says to Philip, “Have I been with you this long and still you do not understand?” For those of us who did not have the opportunity to live with Jesus physically as the Apostles did, St. Paul then lays everything out for us. He says that he handed on what is of greatest importance: first of all that Jesus died for our sins; that He was buried; that He rose from the dead; and then appeared to the various Apostles. In other words, the fact that we know that gives demonstration of proof to everything else that He has said. So even though we did not have an opportunity to walk with Jesus in a physical way, we certainly do in a spiritual way. He is risen from the dead and He has gone back to be with the Father.
He tells us then that when He goes back to the Father, whatever we ask in His name, provided that we believe in Him, will be done. But there is one small point that He makes: so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. In other words, we cannot be asking the Lord for things so that we can be glorified, that is the wrong reason. What we need to be about is doing everything that Jesus did, because it is not merely a matter that He is one with the Father, it is also a matter that we have been incorporated into the Son. We are one with the Son, and therefore one also with the Father. We are to continue to do the work of Christ, and the work of Christ was to glorify the Father.
What we need to do then is first of all to look at the question of how deeply and perfectly do we believe? How strong is that faith? The second thing we need to ask ourselves is, who are we trying to glorify? Are we trying to glorify God, or are we trying to glorify ourselves? If there is any kind of self in the way, then the things that we ask are oftentimes not going to be granted, because it would be for the self-glorification. It would lead to more pride. It would lead to selfishness, and that would go completely contrary to the works of Christ. It would go contrary to our union with Him. So the Lord asks that we would believe, and it is not a matter again of just believing objectively in a few things that happened, but rather it is believing on a deeper level. It is believing that we are one in Him and believing then that He is one with the Father and that if we are with Him then we are with the Father. We have been sent into this world by Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit to continue the work of Christ, and the work of Christ is to glorify the Father. Therefore the question is, do you believe that you are called to give glory to God in all that you do? Because that is what the Lord is looking for. He is not looking for people who are just running around spouting off their faith but not really believing it. He wants people who are united to Him through faith, and in that unity through faith that we will seek to do His work. We will seek to die to self in order to live for God. Then anything, absolutely anything and everything that we ask the Father in His name, He will do because we are not seeking the self, but seeking only to glorify the Father.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.