Monday, August 24, 2009

Here Is A True Child Of Israel. There Is No Duplicity In Him

First Reading
Revelation 21:9b-14

The angel spoke to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145

R/ Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Let all you have made praise you, O LORD; and let your saints extol you.
Let them tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.

Let all men know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

R/ Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

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 Godascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

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We have no special information about Bartholomew. Indeed, his name (which is a patronymic – a family name “Son of Tolmai”) always and only appears in the lists of the Twelve … and is therefore never central to any narrative. However, it has traditionally been identified with Nathanael, a name that means “God has given.” Philip told this Nathanael that he had found “him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). As we know, Nathanael’s retort was rather strongly prejudiced: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46). Nathanael’s protest highlights God’s freedom, which baffles our expectations by causing him to be found in the very place where we least expect him. Nathanael’s reaction suggests another thought to us: in our relationship with Jesus we must not be satisfied with words alone. In his answer, Philip offers Nathanael a meaningful invitation: “Come and see!” (John 1:46). Our knowledge of Jesus needs above all a first-hand experience: someone else’s testimony is of course important, for normally the whole of our Christian life begins with the proclamation handed down to us by one or more witnesses. However, we ourselves must then be personally involved in a close and deep relationship with Jesus. Despite the scarcity of information about him, Saint Bartholomew stands before us to tell us that attachment to Jesus can also be lived and witnessed to without performing sensational deeds. Jesus himself, to whom each one of us is called to dedicate his or her own life and death, is and remains extraordinary.
Pope Benedict XVI

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