Today is the Feast of Saints Philip and James. Philip was first a disciple of John the Baptist, then followed Jesus. James was the son of Alphaeus and a cousin of the Lord. He was the bishop of Jerusalem and authored an epistle. He died with a martyr’s crown in 62 A.D.
In the Gospel reading today from John 14, Jesus has an exchange with Thomas, then with Philip. Jesus says some astonishing things. “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. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” Wait…greater works than Jesus? Raising the dead, curing the sick, turning water to wine? And what about asking ANYTHING in Jesus’ name?
To understand this, we have to understand how God operates. First, God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) wants only what is best for us. We can never ask for evil to be perpetrated in Jesus’ name. That would go completely against who God is. Next, the things we ask for that God deems are in our best interest will be done, but perhaps not in a way that we can see, or in the way that we expect. For example, when we ask for a healing for a loved one and they remain sick or perhaps even die, we must understand that God knows best how that healing needs to take place. The bottom line is that our prayers must always imitate Jesus when He said, “Not my will, Father, but your will be done.”
Father, you know all our needs and wants. We ask you to make us more open to your will, in Jesus’ name. Amen.