“Gazing Upon the Father in Jn 5 and Luis Martinez” (4/3/2019)
Fr. Ignatius John Schweitzer, OP
How astounding is the Gospel of John at times! If I told you, let me tell you about Jesus’ interior life and how he relates to the Father, it would seem unbelievable. What could we say about how Jesus relates interiorly to the Father? Well, Jesus does just that. Jesus himself opens up for us how he relates to the Father in the depths of his heart. Isn’t that astounding?
In our Gospel today, Jesus says “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.”
So we see what Jesus is about here. He contemplates the Father. He gazes upon the Father continually throughout his days. What he beholds in the Father, comes through Jesus’ words and actions. What Jesus beholds in the Father, spontaneously gets translated in his words and actions. His whole life is brought into correspondence with what he beholds in the Father.
The love of the Father spontaneously gets translated into Jesus’ own words and deeds of love. “The Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does.”
And we see that in Jesus’ earthly life he lived in continual dialogue with the Father. What the Son beheld coming from the Father moment by moment, shaped the way the Son lived, moment by moment. Surely the Son sees it all at once, eternally, but this can be expressed in time only through a continuing dialogue, a living relationship with it’s giving and receiving. Jesus says, “For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and [the Father] will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.”
These words will be fulfilled most perfectly in the Resurrection. What does the Son behold in the Father that will get translated into the victory of the Resurrection? I offer no simple answer. I just want to say, when Jesus beholds the Father, what abundant life, what glory, what newness, vitality, and vigor he must see in the Father! For this abundant life, newness, and vitality of the Father that Jesus beholds gets translated into the glorious Resurrection of Christ and the Son giving life to whom he will.
If all this were not astounding enough, Jesus opens up to us his own interior relationship to the Father that we might share in it. Later Jesus will say, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (Jn 14:20).
To close, I’ll leave you with some words on this mystery from Fr Luis Martinez. He was the saintly Archbishop of Mexico City in the 1930s to the 50s, whose cause for canonization has been opened. He says, “We can conceive of the mystery of the Trinity in our human way as a loving gaze between the Father and the Son.… The core of Jesus’ intimate life was this ineffable gazing [upon the Father]…Jesus put all of His soul into that gaze, because that gaze was contemplation, love, self-giving, abandonment, longing to glorify the Father, an abyss of tenderness and a firm, loving, full commitment to His will. Everything in Jesus had that intimate gaze as its source and it radiated in His countenance and was reflected in His words and miracles.”
Then Martinez turns to us, “The gaze of your soul must be the reflection of Jesus’ gaze on the Father. This gaze must be the heart of your interior life…Look ceaselessly upon the Father with the pure gaze of adoration, self-giving and abandonment; in this gaze put all the virtues and beauty which Jesus used to put in His ineffable gaze, or rather, let Jesus gaze upon the Father through the gaze of your soul” (To Be Jesus Crucified, 7-8). Amen.