Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What does Nathanael teach you about your spiritual life? - Daily Reflections August 24, 2016

Doesn’t it seem strange why we read a Gospel story about young Nathanael on the feast of the Apostle St. Bartholomew? Actually, Bartholomew is not a first name. “Bar” means “son of” and “Tolmai” is the father’s name. Who then is the “son of Tolmai?” Many serious biblical scholars researched the problem and came to the conclusion that the Apostle Bartholomew’s first name is Nathanael. Young Nathanael was an interesting youth who Jesus recognized as a good future disciple. He was critical and did not immediately believe what others said. That’s a good attitude. Media today bombards us with so many stories about our Church and our faith that it would be good to be “Nathanaels” — people who check first whether a news or a statement is true or not. I read on the Internet, for example, that Pope Francis abolishes communion in the hand. It turns out that this comes from ultraconservative circles in the Church, but not from the Vatican.
       Once Nathanael was convinced that Jesus was really the Messiah, he made a spontaneous and enthusiastic profession of faith that kept him close to Jesus until he gave his life for Christ as a martyr.
       We profess our faith during Mass every Sunday. But how often do we just recite the Creed without thinking what we are saying? How often does our faith waver?
       How could Nathanael be so mature when it comes to spiritual matters — critical and then convinced? There is a hint in the Gospel. Jesus told him that he saw Nathanael “under the fig tree.” This was a Jewish expression for “praying and meditating.” This young man spent his time conversing with God and so was prepared for a mature response to His call. If only we would spend more time in quiet prayer rather than in front of the TV — maybe our response to God’s plans will be more positive! Young Nathanael teaches us a lot about our spiritual life. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: What does Nathanael teach you about your spiritual life?
Lord, make me more critical when I hear things about You and the Church, and give me the grace to spend more time with You in prayer and meditation. Amen.

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