The readings for the last few Sundays have been about the Resurrection, but today’s Gospel takes us back in time to an event in Jesus’ life before his Passion.
Thomas, who will later doubt the disciples’ reports that they have seen the Risen Lord, contradicts Jesus by saying that the disciples don’t know where Jesus is going or how to get there. Jesus explains that he himself is the way, the truth, and the life. In knowing and loving Jesus, the disciples now love God the Father.
Philip then makes a request that challenges Jesus’ words. Philip wants Jesus to show the Father to the disciples. Recall that Jesus has just told his disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” As a good teacher, Jesus responds to Philip by repeating and elaborating on what he has just told the disciples: they have seen and known Jesus, so they have seen and known the Father. Then Jesus offers another reassurance about his departure: because of faith in God and in Jesus, the disciples will do the work that Jesus has done and more.
The connection between Jesus and his Father, between Jesus’ work and the work of the Father, is made clear in today’s Gospel. Jesus is in the Father, and God the Father is in Jesus. As God spoke his name to Moses, “I am,” so too Jesus speaks his name to his disciples: “I am the way and the truth and the life.”