The Heads and Hands of Two Apostles,
Drawing by Raphael (1483-1520),
Executed circa 1519,
Pencil on paper
© Courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Heads and Hands of Two Apostles,
Drawing by Raphael (1483-1520),
Executed circa 1519,
Pencil on paper
© Courtesy of Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Gospel of 9 May 2020

If you know me, you know my Father too

John 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples:

'If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.'

Philip said, 'Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.'

'Have I been with you all this time, Philip,' said Jesus to him, 'and you still do not know me? 'To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, "Let us see the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work. You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason. I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask for in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.'

Reflection on the Old Master Drawing

I love these types of readings where we witness basically a Q&A session between Jesus and His Disciples. They have been alongside Jesus for nearly 3 years by now, and they are all expecting that Christ would establish His earthly kingdom and they could then rule with Him. But as they realise they haven't got the full picture yet, they ask Jesus questions. Jesus then drops a bombshell: He will be killed and join His Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. But it is the sentence towards the beginning of the reading, 'If you know me, you know my Father too,' which is interesting. The word 'know' is used twice in a short sentence. Christ is inviting us to go beyond purely rational knowledge here. The highest level of knowing is intimacy. If we think of family members or close friends, we can say that we know them because we have shared problems, joys, issues, hardships etc. with them. We 'know' them because of the intimacy we have shared with them, emotionally and spiritually. Jesus is inviting us here to have the same level of intimate knowledge of Him and thus of his Father.

For today's artwork I wanted to show a drawing. Drawing, like no other art form, shows the intimacy of the artist and his mind at work, whilst he is working out a composition, the expression of a hand, the addition of an extra figure, the facial expression of a saint, etc… we see the artist's mind and heart on full display, searching for the right final result. That it is why it is always a privilege to see finished artworks, as they are the result of some, sometimes endless, searching, thinking, observing, improvising, struggling and inspiration-fuelled intimate moments of an artist. The drawing today by Raphael, made a year before he died at the age of only 37, is a beautiful example of this… showing his artistic intelligence and we share in his artistic intimacy through this drawing…

The 'knowing' Jesus is calling us to in today's reading does not mean a 'summary of what facts we know about Jesus', but it is about entering into an intimate relationship with Him in which you share all with Him, so He can share all with you…

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