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The Philip Solution

Jn. 14:1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not,

would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come back again and take you to myself,

so that where I am you also may be.

Where I am going you know the way."

Thomas said to him,

"Master, we do not know where you are going;

how can we know the way?"

Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you know me, then you will also know my Father.

From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Philip said to him,

"Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time

and you still do not know me, Philip?

Whoever 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 is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.

The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,

or else, believe because of the works themselves.

Amen, amen, I say to you,

whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,

and will do greater ones than these,

because I am going to the Father."

How does the world respond to tribulation in our hearts? How are we supposed to respond to times of trouble? The Beatles would have us "let it be." But the words of a pop song are not necessarily the most appropriate for solving life's problems.

The Problem

There can be a great temptation to allow our hearts to be troubled and to give into the emptiness that our world offers. When sadness takes over in our hearts, how do we respond?

Jesus invites us in today's Gospel to "not let our hearts be troubled." What are some different ways that our hearts can be troubled? Our hearts can be troubled about the future, the past, and the present. We can be troubled about real and imagined difficulties. But we are always in the hands of a benevolent God.

We are troubled when we worry excessively about the future. This creates in us an experience of anxiety. The apprehension increases as we prepare for an uncertain danger. Even if the danger is real, the response that we experience is excessive and bothersome.

We are troubled when we look sorrowfully at mistakes from the past. This creates an experience of regret. We blame ourselves for undesirable outcomes from past decisions.

When we hold to sadness about present situations, we are in danger of falling into depression. We hold on to the pain and allow it control our lives. For all of these possibilities, sometimes, we might need professional help. But on a spiritual level, we do have some tools at our disposal.

The Philip Solution

While on the one hand, the apostle Thomas seems quite discouraged, saying that he does not know the way, Philip has a quite different response. "Show us the Father, and that will be enough." He has great insight. He realizes that there is a solution to the troubling heart that we all experience sometimes. As we go through life and face difficulties, we need to learn like Philip to ask Jesus to reveal the Father to us.


The Bible contains many passages that speak of hope in God. The Psalms are particularly apt for praying. Deuteronomy 11:18 reminds us to put the Word of God on our hearts and write it on our minds.


Reading the lives of the saints or praying to one of our favorite saints can be helpful in times of trouble.


We are blessed to have opportunities for adoration every day.

Sense of purpose

The greatest way to overcome tribulation is to renew our sense of purpose. Blessed John Cardinal Henry Newman had to re-discover the purpose of his life several times. Converting to the Catholic Church meant cutting himself off from the entire world he knew. Nevertheless, he did it because he had a great sense of purpose.

The Mission of My Life

God has created me To do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know what it is in this life. But I shall be told in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good, I shall do His work. Therefore, I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I cannot be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him He does nothing in vain, He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink. Hide my future from me— still He knows what He is about.

- Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman

All of this can help us to have Jesus "show us the Father." If we follow the advice of St. Philip and pray to Jesus with these words, he is sure to not disappoint.

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