More than thirty years ago, when I worked for the City of Bradford Metropolitan Council, I was in charge of Recruitment and Selection for my section, and I discovered that when a person applies for a job it can seem like a pretty ruthless process. It’s even more so nowadays. Hundreds, perhaps in some cases, thousands of résumés and CV’s have to be read, so unless a CV really stands out, it will likely get tossed out immediately. For those who are fortunate to be invited for interview, they will have to compete with the other top candidates. And for those who survive the whole process and are chosen, they will definitely feel blessed.
When we hear Our Lord say: “No one comes to the Father except through me” we may be tempted to think he is like that human resources manager. Perhaps we picture him standing with his arms crossed, weeding out those who don’t have what it takes to get to heaven. But look at Philip, one of the saints whose feast we celebrate today. He didn’t get everything right away. He didn’t understand how Jesus was going to feed five thousand people with just a few loaves and a couple of fish. And in today’s passage, Philip asks Jesus to show him the Father—this, after having spent three years hearing Our Lord talk about his Father.
It’s a good thing for Philip—and for us—that we don’t have to qualify for a position to follow Our Lord. We are family, not employees. Instead of standing with his arms closed, Jesus has them opened wide, always ready to embrace us and bring us to the Father.
Most, if not all of us, have gone through the recruitment and selection process, and we may worry that God might reject us and pass us by. It’s true that no one comes to the Father except through his Son. But it’s also true that he brings everyone to the Father who comes to him. He excludes no one. Not Philip. Not James. And certainly not you or me.