Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jesus Takes the Initiative

Aug. 24 Feast of St. Bartholomew
Gospel Jn. 1, 45-51

Jesus always takes the initiative in our relationship with Him.  We see this clearly in today’s Gospel on the feast of St. Bartholomew.  Jesus found and called Phillip to follow him.   Then Phillip in turn finds Nathanael (whom some think is another name for Bartholomew) and tells him about Jesus.  After some hesitation and a cynical remark, Nathanael comes to see for himself.  He is shocked to find that Jesus already knows him and has seen him “under the fig tree”, a phrase used to describe someone who was praying and meditating.  Nathanael, the former cynic is overwhelmed and exclaims, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!  You are the king of Israel!”  Jesus must have laughed as He said, “Do you believe just because I said I saw you under the fig tree?  You will see greater things than that!”  But we should not be too surprised at Nathanael’s seeming overreaction.  There really is nothing more wonderful than to be known and loved by Jesus.  Sometimes we think that He is far from us and that we are the ones who are in search of Him.  But St. Peter tells us that it is God who inspires in us any measure of desire for Him.  So He is there watching and waiting while we are under our own fig tree, praying and seeking.  Then He sends us our own Phillip when he sees we are ready for Him to call us to Himself.  Even when we hesitate or perhaps just respond because of curiosity, He takes us as we are.  Now that we are with Him, let it be our joyful task to open ourselves more and more to Him and His love until every part of us is touched by Him.  Let us be able to sing with the psalmist:  O God, you search me and you know me, You know my resting and my rising, You discern my purpose from afar.  Behind and before you besiege me, your hand ever laid upon me.  Too wonderful for me this knowledge, too high beyond my reach!

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