The Gospel according to John (1:45-51)
Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of the Apostles. Thank You for their “yes” to sharing Your Good News so that it even has reached me today, at this moment. Help me to be open to whatever it is You have to say to me during this time of reflection on Your Holy Word. Amen.
There are two phrases in today’s Gospel that I would like to highlight in today’s reflection: “come and see”, and “I saw you”. I believe that, if we mediate on those two short phrases, we can see in a new way what God has in mind for each one of us.
Today, we remember the Apostle Bartholomew, whom scholars say is likely the same person as the Nathaniel that John includes in his list of Apostles, and whom we meet today. You’ll notice that Nathaniel is at first skeptical that anything good could come from Nazareth. I think that same skepticism can exist in our own minds and hearts when it comes to our faith. With all the technology we have nowadays, we may not trust things until we see them (or read about them online, I suppose). Perhaps Nathaniel had that same natural hesitation to accept what he could not quite understand.
But, what happens next? Philip tells Nathaniel, “come and see”, and invites him to come closer to Jesus and to see for himself. That same invitation is given to all of us who have faith in Jesus. Each day, we are called to “come and see” how Jesus is present with us, and how He wants to work in and through us. It’s not just a one-time invitation, though. Jesus calls us each day to “come” and draw closer to Him. He calls us to “see” how His love can work through us, and how it can help others to draw closer to Him as well.
Of course, by “coming” and “seeing”, we may still not understand fully what God’s plan is for each of us. That’s perfectly natural, and is a good thing. To me, it highlights that God alone has the view of everything and that’s why His plan is the path I should follow, because He alone sees where I should go. Now, if I could only follow His plan properly and fully, that would be great! Unfortunately, we often fail, because that’s how we are as human beings.
The second phrase I mentioned, “I saw you”, is significant, because it is a reminder that we truly never are alone. Jesus is with us, and with the Holy Spirit that He promised, we can always know that God is there. God sees us in all instances of our lives – when we are full of joy and when we are in the depths of despair and sadness. He longs to share the good and the bad with us and to help us appreciate the joyful times and to know that the sad and difficult times will pass.
May each of us recognize how close our Lord is to us at all times of our lives. May each of us always seek to draw closer to Jesus through our times of prayer and reflection, and may each of us know that Jesus is always there, right by our side, no matter what may come our way. We are blessed indeed, and may we be like Nathaniel and confess our faith with our words and with our very lives.
Closing Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You see me and You love me. Help me reflect that love to everyone I meet, and help them to know how loved they are by You as well. Amen.
Action for the Day: Think of how you can be an apostle today (one who is sent to spread the Good News). What action can you take to share Jesus’ love with someone else?