Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. 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 the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1: 47-51)
At the heart of todays Gospel is a story of putting aside unfounded assumptions and discovering the love of God.
Let’s begin with assumptions. Nathanial was very skeptical. He didn’t like Nazareth and didn’t want to have anything to do with people coming from Nazareth. Perhaps we are like Nathanial. We reject others (or at least keep them distant from us) because they come from some place or position, we don’t like or find fault with. Assumptions act as limitations. They narrow our vision. They close off the possibility of change and growth. Ultimately, they impoverish our faith and proclaim there is no room for God to show up and act.
But Jesus spoke a word to Nathaniel and he moved from the assumption stage to seeing his heart ablaze with wonder! Jesus who knows our hearts better than we do revealed to Nathaniel the innermost thoughts and desire of his heart. Nathaniel was hungry for knowledge of God. He really wanted to know God personally. That happens with us. God places in every heart a longing and desire to know the One who created us in love for love.
That is why Augustine of Hippo, who found God only after many years of wandering in disbelief and darkness, exclaimed: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
Our assumptions, our insatiable desire to concretize our emotions will lead us to forget some basic truths about our spiritual life and our relationship with God.
We did not choose God. He chose us from all eternity. In Jesus’ incarnation, the divine Son of God taking on human flesh for our sake, we see the union of heaven and earth — God making his dwelling with us and bringing us into the heavenly reality of his kingdom. Jesus’ death on the Cross and his Resurrection opens the way for each of us to come into a new relationship with God as his sons and daughters.
We are called by Him primarily to tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ. We do that through our lives, our words and our actions.
We are called to a life of peace and blessing with God. Jesus sees us, he knows everything about us and perceives our deepest needs. And if we follow him, as he says to Nathanael, “[we] will see heaven opened…”
Jesus Christ is, indeed, a Savior to be followed – and it is a lifetime’s work for us to live out these two simple instructions: “Follow me!” and “Come and see!”
Today we follow, tomorrow we will come and see.
Prayer of The Day
“Heavenly Father, through your Son Jesus Christ, you have opened the way to heaven for us. As you revealed yourself to your beloved Patriarchs and Apostles, so reveal yourself to me that I may glorify you in my daily life. May I always find joy in your presence and never lose sight of the kingdom of heaven.”
Over and over Jesus shows up from the Nazareths of our life and calls us out from under the fig tree. Whenever we leave the fig tree, we open ourselves to see God present and at work in the most unexpected places and people. As the assumptions fall a new life and a new world arise