Remember how excited you were at your First Communion? It really was a "big deal.” I don’t know if it was the little white suit or white dress, the celebration afterward with all the relatives or just the fact that it was sort of a “rite of passage,” now we could do what the grownups did every Sunday. It was a big day. The nuns explained to us what the Eucharist was, Christ’s body and blood. Oh it might look through our eyes like bread and wine but through the eyes of faith it was Christ, as real as if he was standing there. And we never doubted what the nuns said!
Have you ever noticed how different things can look, depending on where you are sitting? Let me give you an example. I like to drive, which is fortunate living here in the Village, and I consider myself a good driver. But I remember when I was teaching my oldest daughter to drive. I had to sit in the passenger’s seat. Everything looks different when you are sitting there. The curbs are much closer, mailboxes are right next to your head, cars in the lane next to you look like they are in your lap. As scary as the driving lessons were, do you remember the first time you gave your son or daughter the car keys and they went out on their own. In your car, the one that you were still making payments on. That’s when you really learned about faith, the first time they take the wheel all alone, without you.
The Gospel that was just proclaimed sets Christians apart from every other religion in the world. In this Gospel Jesus makes it clear that he is divine, he is God. No prophet, no spiritual leader has ever made that statement. Think about what just happened with that statement. For thousands of years the Israelites wanted to see God, wanted to know that God was with them. But the God that led them to freedom was always distant, a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. A God that even Moses only saw as a flaming bush, that spoke to only a few prophets. For ages ancient people built idols, images so they could look at something, so they could “see” their god. Philip was no different when he asked, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” We all want to see God. That is why God wrapped himself in human flesh, became one of us so that, “Whoever sees me, and what I do, sees God and what God is all about”. That sums up Christ’s life here on earth; a life of caring for others, a life of healing, forgiving. A life of love.
Want to hear some interesting but probably useless information? In my bible the Old Testament contains 1,598 pages focused on God the Father and the 4 Gospels consists of only 159 pages, all focused on Jesus. But in the Creed that we will say today there are 16 words about what we believe of the Father and 128 words about what we believe of Jesus. Why the big reversal? Because of the Gospel that was just proclaimed. In this Gospel Jesus makes it clear that He is divine, He is God. Whoever sees me, and what I do, sees God and what God is all about. Whatever we say in the Creed about Jesus we are saying about God. God wrapped himself in flesh, became one of us to show us what divinity is all about: a life of caring for others, a life of healing, forgiving. A life of love.