3 May 2018
Feast of Saints Philip and James
That’s a pretty enticing thing Jesus says: “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” It sounds a lot like the old genie-in-the-bottle: Just ask for whatever you want and it’s yours. But that’s not exactly how God works. The name “Jesus” isn’t a magic word. We don’t say it out loud and—shazam!—things happen and we get what we ask for. Of course, we know that.
But, still, it’s an intriguing thing Jesus says: “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” And he seems to be getting at what we heard this past weekend: The idea of communion—being in union with the Lord. And so, to ask for something “in the name of Jesus” is to say to him: “I want what you want, Jesus.” That’s what it means. And then, no matter what happens, it’ll be what we want...because it’s what Jesus wants.
Now when the disciples heard Jesus, they heard the God the Father as well. And that’s because Jesus spoke and acted “in the name of” God the Father; his mind and his spirit are one with the Father. And when St. Paul, or St. Philip, or St. James (or any of the Apostles) preached and died for the faith, the crowds didn’t hear them—they heard Jesus speaking to them; they saw Jesus dying for them . . . not just Paul and Philip and James. And that’s because Paul and Philip and James were one in mind and spirit with Jesus. They said to him lots of time, “Whatever you want, Jesus, is what we want.”
So, Jesus says something pretty enticing today. He says, “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” And it’s true. But the catch is we have to ask “in the name of Jesus;” we have to be able to say to him: Jesus, Lord, whatever you want is what I want. And that’s a hard thing to do, for sure.
But the more we practice trusting in God, the more we’ll see some real “magic” happening. And it’s nothing other than the magic of life. “We want what you want, Lord Jesus.” And that’s great, because what he wants for us is...life, life in abundance.