For The Times I Mess Up

First Reading: Acts 13:44-52
The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted what was spoken by Paul, and reviled him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, `I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.'” And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord spread throughout all the region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and went to Ico’nium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 98:1-4
O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The LORD has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

Gospel: John 14:7-14
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who 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 in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.



Palm to face. Ugh! I did it again!

I made the same mistake. I failed to show charity, to follow through on a resolve, to be obedient. All these little habitual sins and imperfections sometimes make me feel like I am getting nowhere in my faith journey.

It’s times like these that I take comfort in knowing that even the disciples didn’t get it right all the time. In today’s Gospel we see Saint Philip asking what seems like a pretty legitimate question, “Lord, show us the Father.” And then we see Jesus basically saying, “How can you be so thick? Haven’t you been listening to anything I’ve been saying?

Everything Jesus said and did while on earth reveals to us the heart of the Father. And the Father’s heart is an ocean of mercy for us. And so in mercy Jesus explains it, again. “He who has seen me has seen the Father . . . I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” The way to know God is to read the Gospels and get to know Jesus.

Then in another act of mercy, after chastising the disciples Jesus gives a promise, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it.

This promise has always puzzled me a little. Obviously Jesus doesn’t want us to treat Him like a genie in a bottle. If I ask for a milkshake or a pony, one will not magically appear before me. But sometimes I do ask for things that seem worthy, healing for a loved one, a job for someone in need, and nothing happens. So what am I missing? I feel a little like Philip, “Lord, what am I supposed to ask for?”

The answer is what Jesus desires most for us: salvation. Jesus will give us whatever we need to attain salvation. For all the times I mess up, mercy. For all the times I am disobedient, forgiveness. For all my failings, grace. All we have to do is ask for it, and it’s ours.

For the moments you fail, breathe this simple act of contrition: Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

photo by Laura Jensen


Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith.  Read more about her here.

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