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.”
Reflection: So, to understand today’s gospel, we need to know what duplicity means. It means deceitfulness in speech or conduct. In other words, saying one thing but doing another. This clarification or understanding is crucial to gain insight from the exchange between Jesus and Nathanael.
Jesus is paying Nathanael the highest compliment. He was saying that he admired or appreciated that he was sincere and true to his upbringing, traditions, and way of life. Who wouldn’t want to hear that from Jesus? For him to recognize and comment on this meant a lot to Nathaniel. Coupled with Jesus’ telling Nathanael that he had seen him before Phillip called him, he realized that he was in the presence of the one that he and his people had been waiting for. Jesus was the Son of God, the one who would change everything!
What would we do or how would we react if we were in Nathanael’s place, or had a similar experience? Would we also recognize Jesus as the Son of God? Think about how many times we have been in the presence of Jesus. Maybe it was while you spoke to someone today or exchanged a glance with a person you walked by. How about your spouse, child, grandparent, or parent who wanted just a moment of your time to share a need or experience. What about in prayer, reading Holy Scripture, at mass, or as you walked away after receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. I can go on, but I hope you get my point. Jesus is as present to us now as when he walked among many more than two thousand years ago. And would he be able to say of us, there is no duplicity in you? No one is perfect but Jesus knows our hearts. A humble and sincere heart will help others to recognize that we are followers of the King of Israel, Jesus, the Christ.
Action of the day: Do you struggle with saying one thing but doing another. Welcome to the club. As we strive and sometimes struggle with our journeys to become saints we must embrace our limitations. Pray today, specifically for the grace you need to take one step closer to allowing our interior life to match our exterior behavior. It is not easy but, by the grace of God, every step forward brings us that much closer to heaven.