There comes a time in the life of almost every woman when she looks at her reflection in a mirror and sees not herself but another woman she knows well. This encounter is inevitably accompanied by a small gasp, an expression of shock and the realization that "I have become my mother." This insight is not necessarily a negative or positive judgment on herself or her mother or the quality of their relationship. Rather it is the sense of the unstoppable passing of time and the rootedness of qualities and characteristics , both physical and personality, that have made her who she has become. No one can be insulated from absorbing the genetic, cultural and environmental background from which they came. But a person can be blind to recognizing the effect these influences exert in life and the connectedness we have with others.
Jesus seems to be both surprised and disappointed by Phillips request , "Lord, show us the Father." Jesus knew that the purpose of his life, relationships, teachings and way of being with people was to be a mirror of his Father’s presence. He was in his Father and his Father was in him. God was present to others in the person of Jesus. But Phillip had not yet had the "aha" moment, the gasp of insight and recognition that the person he knew as Jesus was actually more than the man who was obviously apparent. Phillip did not yet have the faith to see who was really reflected in the mirror that was Jesus.
Maybe heaven begins for us when we each look in a mirror and gasp with the realization that "I have become the Lord". The Lord lives in you and me, speaks through you and me, loves through you and me just as he promised. Our faith is not perfect nor is our reflection of the Lord untarnished but as we become more and more absorbed in the qualities and characteristics of Jesus we each, in our own way, become a mirror of God’s presence to others.
Cathy Anthony is on the staff of St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.