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John 1:45-51

The Word of God

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

John 1:45-51
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Today is the feast of one of the Twelve, Nathanael, or as he was later called, Bartholomew. He is praised by Jesus himself as an Israelite without guile. In fact, he was able to overcome his anti-Nazareth prejudice and accept Philip’s invitation to go and see for himself. I ask him to help me overcome my own prejudices, against others and against God himself, and grow in my inner freedom.
    • Being called to be one of the Twelve must have been a huge surprise and a heavy responsibility for Nathanael. Yet, after sharing Jesus’ life for three years, and witnessing his passion, death, and resurrection, he was ready to commit himself to spreading the Gospel to the whole world. I look with deep gratitude at this motley group of persons who turned out to be such efficacious instruments for the spreading of the faith in Jesus. I ask for the grace to be able to introduce others to Jesus, as Philip did.
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    • Nathanael rather dismissively comments, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” He regarded it as a place that was not likely to produce the Messiah.
    • How often do we make judgements on people or situations, convinced that we are correct? How often can we be blinded to a message from God by a “type of messenger” we didnt expect? Lord grant us an open heart and mind so we can truly see you in all people.
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    • Today is the feast of St Bartholomew, or Nathanael, one of the Twelve apostles. I thank God for these twelve men, his great friends and for their faithfulness to carry out the mission to bring the Gospel to the whole world. I know Jesus and believe in him because of Bartholomew and his companions! I stand in awe before God’s power and his mysterious ways.
    • I also ask for the grace to be able to be an apostle myself, ready to transmit the Gospel to others, just as I have received it from others myself. A message that is alive and brings joy, transmitting it with my words but even more with my deeds, first of all to those who are near, but perhaps also to those who are afar, relying not on my abilities but on the power of God. Father, may your Kingdom come!
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    • Pope Francis has a dream that every Christian may become an ‘evangeliser’. He means us to share the Good News of God’s saving love for all humankind. This can seem a daunting task, but Philip shows very simply how it can be done. His heart has been touched by meeting Jesus, so off he goes to share his discovery with his friend. He doesn’t argue with Nathanael, but just says, ‘Come and see’. We come across Philip doing the same thing again, when he found some Greeks who wished to see Jesus.
    • You might pray: ‘Lord, grant me an inner knowledge of yourself that sets me on fire with a desire to share you with others. Even if I can’t mention your name, let me always try to be good news to those I meet’.
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    • Saint Bartholomew, whose feast we celebrate today, is listed among the Twelve Apostles in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), but is not mentioned by the name Bartholomew in the Gospel of John. He also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension. There are many references to him in non-historical literature.
    • Nathanael, whom some commentators identify with Bartholomew, is promised that as Israel (Jacob) of the Old Testament saw the Glory of God in the vision of the ladder, so he (Nathanael), who is worthy of the name Israel, will see the glory of the Son of Man at the miracle at Cana.
    • We could pray today for the grace to see the glory of the Lord in all that is around us.
    • ‘The World is charged with the grandeur of God’ (GM Hopkins).
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    • In our passage today we have someone who clearly had faith in God’s word carried through the Hebrew Scriptures. He may have had very different expectations about where the Messiah was going to come from. Yet his curiosity and openness lead to an encounter with Jesus filled with promise.
    • What sparks your curiosity about Jesus? Who are the people in your life that invite you, in simple ways, to encounter Jesus? What opens up before you in these moments?