We hear in the Gospel today about these Greek people whom are God fearing, but they do not know the Lord. They come to Philip because they know that Philip is one of His disciples. They have heard about the Lord. They have heard these wonderful miracles that He is working. They have heard that He is claiming to be God on earth. So, they go to Philip and say to him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Because Philip is one of His disciples, he is able to go to Jesus and to relay this message.
I was thinking for us today about how Jesus is real. He is not just a concept. He is not just an idea. If someone were to come up to me and tell me, “I want to see Jesus,” what would I do? If someone were to come up to you, what would you do? You are one of His disciples. You are in the inner circle. You are in His entourage. So, if someone said to you, “I want to see Jesus,” would you be able to show Him to them? I think some of us at times may struggle with this. We know through catechesis and through study. We know the Lord sometimes as an idea or a concept. Even sometimes when we pray, we say our prayers without actually encountering Jesus.
If someone were to ask you to see Jesus, you ought to be able to show them to Jesus. You should be able to say, “Oh, I know Him. He is my best friend. Let me show Him to you.” But I want you to think about what you would practically do? How would you show them to Jesus, if they would like to see the Lord? What would you do?
I thought about this. The first thing that I might do with somebody is to take them to the adoration chapel. I would take them in and sit them before the Blessed Sacrament because Jesus is present to us in the Eucharist. The times I can most feel His presence is when I am before the Eucharist. Another thing that I would do is to help them encounter the Lord at prayer. Many of you who are doing Pray40Days this Lent understand my great excitement. I would love for you to experience it in your prayer life. Jesus is real and you can actually have a relationship with Him. We hear from St. Jerome that ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ. If we do not know scripture, we do not know Christ. That means, if you do know scripture, you do know Christ. Maybe you could just be sharing with them your favorite scripture verse and why you love it so much. One of the very concrete ways is where Jesus says, “Where two or three of you are gathered together in My name there I am in your midst.” You could just be gathering either that person with maybe another person or two in prayer and experiencing Christ in the midst of that prayer. We hear in the Gospel of Matthew, “When did we see you a stranger and welcome you or naked and clothed you? When did we see you ill and visit you or imprisoned? The king will say to them in reply ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these brothers and sisters, you did for me’” Maybe that would mean taking that person to the poor and introducing them to someone who is poor. Someone who is imprisoned. Someone who is broken down. Letting them see the love of God in that person.
The most concrete ways that we have are the sacraments. I am just going to go through the seven sacraments and explain how we can experience Christ in each one of them. The first is Baptism. When we were baptized, we were baptized into Christ Jesus. We hear in scripture, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were buried therefore by baptism into the death. So as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of The Father we too might be in the newness of life.” In our baptism, Christ becomes one with us. Once somebody said to me to hold up a mirror and let them see Christ in themselves. When we are baptized, we become one with Christ. Every one of you walking out of church today and walking into the world is Jesus in the world today because of Baptism.
The second sacrament that you usually we receive is Confession. In the sacrament of Confession, we experience the Father’s love and mercy in the person of the priest who stands in the person of Christ. Any time we go to the sacrament of Confession, we are experiencing Jesus. Not only in the priest but also in the penitent sinner who is being reconciled. The third is Confirmation. When you were confirmed, you were sealed with all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. All those gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are the same gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit that were in Jesus and are in you. So, those gifts are being shared with the world. Hopefully, people can see Jesus in the gifts and fruits working in you.
This next sacrament would be for me, but also for all of you in the person of the priest we experience Jesus. Not just from my own Ordination as I was ordained and therefore permanently sealed and joined with Christ. Any time you see a priest, you are witnessing that Christ – especially when the priest celebrates the sacraments. Anointing of the Sick is another one. When the priest is with the person being anointed, he was broken and desired healing. In that moment, Jesus is there. If you know anybody that is sick or suffering, Jesus is present in those that are broken and who are lonely. Marriage. If you are married, take a look to your right and take a look to your left. That is Jesus who is right there through good times and in bad, through sickness and in health. God has been loving you through your spouse. It is not only for the two of you, but for all of us to witness through your loving each other through good times and bad, sickness and in health. You become a reflection of God’s love. A sacrament of God’s love is where we can experience and encounter Jesus.
Finally, here at the Mass. The Mass is where everything is brought together. So, in this gathered assembly, Christ is present because we have gathered in the name of Jesus. As you greet each other at the Sign of Peace, as you walk out of Mass today and encounter each other, you are encountering Our Lord. We also know in the readings that we hear today that Christ is present any time the Word of God is proclaimed. We experience Him in the readings. In the priesthood, when I as the priest or any of us as priests go to the altar and transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, we are experiencing Jesus in the person of the priest. Then, finally, we experience Jesus in the Eucharist. As the gifts of bread and wine are consecrated and the Body and Blood are transformed for us, Jesus is born every Sunday, every day right here on this altar. Then He is given to you and you receive Him. You go out into the world, and you are Jesus in the world today.
After reflecting on each of these, I would just like you to think about that. What would you do if somebody wanted to see Jesus? What would you do if somebody wanted to know more about Our Lord? What would you do if someone really and genuinely wanted to experience Jesus and the realness of that? Hopefully, you have encountered Him in these different ways. Hopefully, He has become so real to you that you would know exactly where to go to take them to see Jesus. We are called to do that. We are called as His disciples to do that. What a wonderful responsibility that is. What a daunting responsibility that is. Each and every one of us should be able to show people to The Lord. So, what would you do if somebody came to you and said, “I want to see Jesus.”