Is Jesus a genie in a bottle? We might think so, given his words in today’s gospel: "If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it." Given this, instead of asking, "Show us the Father," like Phillip did, we might be tempted to demand: "Show me the money!"
But consider what else Jesus said. He insisted that he didn’t speak on his own, but that he said what the Father wanted him to say, because he is in the Father, and the Father is in him.
We aren’t one with the Father in the way Jesus is. However, we are united with Jesus by the Holy Spirit at baptism. The Father works in Jesus, and Jesus works in us, through the Spirit. This allows us to pray in his name. When we do this, we’re not speaking on our own. Instead, we’re inspired to say what Jesus wants us to say.
This is the key to understanding, not only Jesus’ promise to fulfill our requests, but also his insistence that we’d do the same works he did- even greater ones! Not through our power, of course, but through his. Jesus will do what we ask him to do- when we ask what he wants us to ask.
After all, he’s not a genie in a bottle. He’s God’s Son, dwelling in our hearts.