After Jesus had decided to set off for Galilee, He met Philip and said to him, «Follow me». Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, «We have found the one that Moses wrote about in the Law, and the prophets as well: he is Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth». Nathanael replied, «Can anything good come from Nazareth?». Philip said to him, «Come and see».
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, «Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him». Nathanael asked him, «How do you know me?». And Jesus said to him, «Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree and I saw you». Nathanael answered, «Master, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!». But Jesus replied, «You believe because I said: ‘I saw you under the fig tree’. But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man».
The divine encounter of Nathanael is the best example for us to understand how God works and how could we respond positively to this call. Just like Philippe, Nathanael also was searching the divine Truth, waiting for the Messiah to come. All these events related with Phillipe, Nathanael and Jesus, come as if they are well planned and enacted. When we respond positively to the divine call, we enact as God has planned things for us. When we respond negatively, God accepts our decision and allow us to go further, but continuing to guide us and help us.
The more we get closer to God, the more we are enlightened with new information. Phillip will discover that he was followed by the Lord and every single step that he has taken to discover God, is not ignored. They are preciously observed and appreciated by God. Thus even in our mistakes, God never forgets our small gests or actions in search of the Lord.
The third lessons that can learned is, God elevates us from old status to a higher and new status. If we take one step towards God, He will take two steps towards us. God is always generous in His goodness. Nathanael simply wish to see Christ, but Jesus has raised him to see the heavenly realities. He has gone to see the ONE who is sent and Jesus invites him to see the divine presence, the Christ in His heavenly glory, surrounded by angels of the Lord.
When Nathanael was invited by Philip, he didn’t realise what was waiting for him. His yes to the invitation gave him an opportunity to meet Jesus personally, GOD-Man together. Are we ready to respond positively to the divine call, which comes very often through our brothers and sisters?
«Come and see»
Fr. Rafel FELIPE i Freije
Today, Philip teaches us an important lesson when he asks Nathaniel to go with him to meet the Master, because, like all true friends, he wants to share the treasure he has discovered: «We have found the one that Moses wrote about in the Law, and the prophets as well: he is Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth» (Jn 1:45). He is impatient to share the riches of Jesus with others, so that they too can be blessed by the treasure that comes to all that know Jesus Christ. No one is able to fill a man's heart with the happiness and peace that is ours when Jesus dwells within. When we experience His love, peace, and blessing in our lives, we are eager to share Him. This restless urge to share what we have with others, is the origin of the calling of a Christian Apostle. At some point in our lives, Jesus bids us to cast our nets wide. When he does, He is telling each one of us that we must become fishers of people, for the people of the world is in great need of God, and our common hunger for spiritual fulfillment, truth, and happiness can only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. «Only Jesus Christ means everything for us (…). Happy the man who waits for Him!» (Saint Ambrose).
We cannot give what we do not have. So, before we can tell others about the Master, we must already have encountered Him and come to know Him. Only when we know Him well and have allowed Him to enter and direct into our lives, can we share Him with others, as Philip did, and as His disciples have done throughout history.
This involves knowing Jesus as the Lord of our lives, knowing Him as a friend, conversing with Him, and accepting Him so completely that we can declare: «Master, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!» (Jn 1:49). We must receive Him in the Eucharist, share our gratitude and our desires with Him in daily prayer, and listen intently to His declarations of forgiveness. All this will help us to know Him well enough to be able to speak of Him with others to their understanding, so that they too can discover that intimate joy of encountering our Lord, experience religious satisfaction, and come to love Him even as we love Him.