Icon of the Invisible God

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
(John 14:1-12)

Scripture Study

14:1 Let not your hearts: Jesus wants to protect his disciples from despair at his death and from discouragement when persecution comes their way (14:27; 16:33). Only the peace of God that surpasses understanding can calm their anxieties (Phil 4:6–7).

14:2 my Father’s house: A similar expression is used in 2:16 for the Jerusalem Temple, hinting that the Father’s house is a heavenly sanctuary (Rev 21:22) perched high above in the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:26; Rev 21:1). This is the eternal dwelling where the glorified angels and saints worship the Lord in the eternal liturgy (Heb 12:22–24; Rev 4–5) (CCC 2795). many rooms: Similar to the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem, which had several courts for worship, chambers for storage, and living quarters for priests.

14:6 I am the way: A claim to be the sole Savior of the world (Acts 4:12). He is the one mediator chosen by the Father to bring the human family to glory. Earlier Jesus made this claim when he compared himself to Jacob’s ladder (1:51) (CCC 661, 2466).

14:9 has seen the Father: Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), his human flesh (1:14) being an icon of divine spirit (4:24). Through faith we see how Christ’s entire life shows us the heart of the Father and his love for the world (3:16; 5:19–23; CCC 516).

14:13 Whatever you ask: The Ascension of Jesus will not be his retirement, since even now he lives to make priestly intercession for the Church on earth (Heb 7:25; 9:24). I will do it: A promise to grant whatever is needed to facilitate our salvation (Mt 7:7–11). To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray that the Father will bless us through him (Jn 16:23–24; CCC 2614, 2615).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in our Gospel passage today, Jesus once again explains his union with the Father. The disciples are gathered around Jesus at the Last Supper, abiding in intimacy with him, asking questions and seeking wisdom. Listen to Jesus’ words: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Later, Paul picks up on this idea when he refers to Jesus as the “icon of the invisible God.”

In these accounts, we sense the humility of the Logos. Jesus says, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.” Neither the words nor the deeds of Jesus are his own. They are received from the Father. The Trinitarian theological tradition respects this when it speaks of the Son as the interior word of the father and as having received everything from the Father.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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