If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? 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 say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
In our first reading from Acts today we notice that not everyone was quick to embrace the early church. We read about jealousy arising for some as they see crowds gather to hear Paul and Barnabas speak. Towards the end of this account from Acts we hear that one group was “delighted” as another “stirred up persecution.”
In 1565 Jesuit Peter Canisius also encountered divisions regarding matters of faith. Tensions were extremely high during this time of the Protestant Reformation, and with the Council of Trent concluded, the Pope needed someone to distribute the Council’s decrees to the bishops throughout Europe. The first attempt to deliver these documents was met by thieves and Protestant opposition. For the second attempt Peter Canisius was chosen for the task and was able to distribute the documents to the European bishops.
In addition to helping the church by delivering these important documents, Peter went on to help defend the faith by assisting in the writing of a Catholic catechism. Though it was not uncommon at that time to have heated debates and harsh criticism about religion, Peter was more in favor of education and charity in our actions as ways to bring people closer to the Catholic faith.
On today’s feast of St. Peter Canisius, S.J., let us reflect on ways we can become witnesses for the Catholic faith. Are there parts of the faith we are unsure about, parts we could benefit from reading and studying about our Catholic teachings? Are there ways we can increase our charity towards others who may not believe by what we say and do? Would people know we are Catholic by the way we talk and treat others?
As we journey on this Easter season may we pray for the grace not only to better understand our Catholic faith, but to also experience the grace to live it out.
—Br. Pat Douglas, S.J, is Vocation Promoter for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus and a residence hall chaplain at Creighton University, Omaha, NE. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Lord, our lives ebb and flow between beginnings and endings, from emptiness to fullness, from the weariness of depletion to the wonder of creation, from an agony of the heart to the burst of joy that fills our senses. And so goes the lives of all who cling to you.
Lord, through your humanity and divinity, you accepted the cycle of life. When we recall the denial and abandonment by your best friends, the brutality that lifted you up on the cross and drew forth blood and water from your side, we know that death does not have the final word. Because you stand victorious, we will one day cross over to eternal life.
And regardless of our place in our appointed time, we claim your promise “that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!