"Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
The Book of Genesis tells us:
God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
In his Letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul tells us, "He is the image of the invisible God."
Notice the subtle distinction: we are made in the image of God, Jesus is the image of God. Today's gospel from Saint John echoes that teaching, "...whoever sees me sees the one who sent me."
The scriptures often encourage us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He gave sight to the blind Bartimaeus and then told him "Go your way." Immediately the beggar followed the Lord. We have eyes so that we might follow him! Saint John the Baptist directed his disciples, "Behold the Lamb of God!" and they followed Jesus. Seeing is following.
What do we see when we look at Jesus? The One who sent him.
Recall the names of God: Beauty, Truth, Goodness, Wisdom, Holiness, Mercy, Compassion, Grace, Love and so forth. Looking at Jesus we see all of these virtues in their original splendor. We see them occasionally in human behavior because humans are made "in the image" of God; and we're always edified by the sight. A beautiful child; an act of kindness, an extraordinary insight, a graceful dance, a loving embrace, a devout gesture: each of these may inspire us. We feel the presence of God when we witness or participate in such events.
In Jesus we find all of these graces and more because he is the very image of God. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, in his poem The Blessed Mother compared to the air we breathe, showed how we can look on Jesus and see the Father without scalding our eyes. She is like the atmosphere which relieves brilliant sunlight of its unbearable glare, enabling us to see the beauty of the world around us, and at dawn or evening the Sun. Coming to us through Mary the Son of God reveals his splendor without destroying our faith in him.
During this Easter Season we celebrate the God who has revealed what we could never imagine and certainly could not deserve to see -- Himself in the Person of Jesus.