REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
August 24, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“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.” John 1:47-49
Like Nathanael, we may doubt that Jesus is the one we are looking and longing for. But Jesus does not hesitate to make the first move. Calling out to us, Jesus recognizes and affirms us for who we are. This is what we need to trust, and open our hearts in faith to him. Philip tells Nathanael about Jesus, but Nathanael asks, Can anything good come from Nazareth? Jesus calls out to Nathanael, affirming him as a true Israelite, one without duplicity and Nathanael declares Jesus to be the Son of God and King of Israel.
But notice how Jesus described Nathanael. He was one with “no duplicity.” Other translations say he had “no guile.” So what does that mean?
If one has duplicity or guile it means they are two-faced and cunning. They are skilled in the art of deception. This is a dangerous and deadly quality to have. But to say the opposite, that one has “no duplicity” or “no guile” is a way of saying that they are honest, straightforward, sincere, transparent and real.
As for Nathanael, he was one who spoke freely about what he thought. In this case, it was not so much that Jesus put forth some form of convincing intellectual argument about His divinity, He said nothing about it. Instead, what happened was that this good virtue of Nathanael, of being without duplicity, enabled him to look at Jesus and realize that He is “the real deal.”
Nathanael’s good habit of being honest, sincere and transparent enabled him to not only reveal who Jesus is, but it also allowed Nathanael to see others more clearly and honestly. And this quality benefited him greatly as he saw Jesus for the first time and was able to immediately comprehend the greatness of who He is.
Reflect, today, upon how free you are from guile and duplicity. Are you also a person of great honesty, sincerity and transparency? Are you the real deal? Living this way is the only good way to live. It’s a life lived in the truth. Pray that God helps you grow in this virtue today through the intercession of St. Bartholomew.
Lord, help me to be free of duplicity and guile. Help me to be a person of honesty, integrity and sincerity. Thank You for the example set by Saint Bartholomew. Give me the grace I need to imitate his virtues. Jesus, I trust in You.