The Father Told Me

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.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that 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.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
(John 12:44-50)

Scripture Study

12:44–50. With these verses St John brings to an end his account of our Lord’s public ministry. He brings together certain fundamental themes developed in previous chapters—the need for faith in Christ (v. 44); the Father and the Son are one yet distinct (v. 45); Jesus is Light and Life of the world (vv. 46, 50); men will be judged in accordance with whether they accept or reject the Son of God (vv. 47–49). The chapters which follow contain Jesus’ teaching to his Apostles at the Last Supper, and the accounts of the Passion and Resurrection.

12:45. Christ, the Word Incarnate, is one with the Father (cf. Jn 10:30): “he reflects the glory of God” (Heb 1:3); “he is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). In John 14:9 Jesus expresses himself in almost the same words: “He who has seen me has seen the Father”. At the same time he speaks of his oneness with the Father, we are clearly shown the distinction of persons—the Father who sends, and the Son who is sent.

In Christ’s holy human nature his divinity is, as it were, hidden, that divinity which he possesses with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14:7–11). In theology “circumincession” is the word usually used for the fact that, by virtue of the unity among the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, “the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son” (Council of Florence, Decree Pro Jacobitis, Dz-Sch, 1331).

12:47. Christ has come to save the world by offering himself in sacrifice for our sins and bringing us supernatural life (cf. Jn 3:17). But he has also been made Judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 10:42): he passes sentence at the particular judgment which happens immediately after death, and at the end of the world, at his second coming or Parousia, at the universal judgment (cf. Jn 5:22; 8:15–16).

Scripture Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear once again that he and the Father are one. God is not a force or an energy or a spiritual presence occupying the deep background of your life; he’s not something that you can tap into when you feel like it. Nor is God a distant supreme being who organized the universe long ago and now leaves it to its own devices.

Rather, God is the Lord. He is the commander, the ruler, the governor, the one who makes a demand and who then involves himself intimately in the affairs of the world.

More to it, this Lord is one. This is, as argued by Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), a subversive statement, for it undermines anyone or anything else’s claim to be absolute. No country, no president, no prime minister, no culture, no book, no person or political party is absolute—only God. The unity of God, for Jews and Christians, is not simply a theoretical claim; it is an enormously important existential claim. Jesus and the Father are one God who is the Lord of all creation.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.