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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
St. Bartholemew (aka Nathaniel) was the only one of the Twelve praised by Jesus for a quality: “no duplicity in him”. Often it seems very hard not to be duplicitous, not to be dishonest. Yet Jesus, deceiving no one in his dealings with everyone, knew and practiced honesty. This honesty is not only about being fair or telling the truth, but goes very deep into our souls: it does not deceive one’s God, one’s neighbor, oneself.
Maintaining and growing in our spiritual life demands honesty on all three fronts; it is necessary if the soil is to receive and make grow the seed. Bartholemew’s lack of deceit made him interpret Jesus in the words, “What good can come from Nazareth?” Honest, even forthright, but needing the assurance that, “if you believe, you will see things greater than you can imagine!” It takes great honesty to really believe.
–John Kilgallen, SJ, a Chicago-Detroit province Jesuit, is emeritus professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
Lord, we pray for the grace to speak the truth with courage and consideration. Give us the wisdom to address failed expectations or remarks that distort the truth about another’s character. As we prepare for those conversations, may your spirit guide our answers to three questions: What do I want for myself? What do I want for the other? And what do I want for the relationship?
–The Jesuit Prayer Team