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REFLECTION CAPSULE Jn 1: 45-51

REFLECTION CAPSULE:
(Based on the Feast of St Bartholomew – Jn 1:45-51)

An elderly person sat under a mango tree in his garden in the noonday heat.

As he sat, he looked at the pumpkin vines that were growing nearby, and said to himself:
“How foolish God is!

> Here he puts a big heavy pumpkin on to a weak vine branch and so can’t do anything, but simply lie on the ground!
> And then He hangs these small little mangoes on a huge tree which can actually hold very heavy objects!

If I were God, I think I could do better than that!”

Just then, a bit of breeze came up…
… and knocked a loose mango off the tree.

It fell right on the man’s head…
… causing a little bump on his head!

This made him sadder… but wiser, and he quipped:
“Oh! Suppose if that had been a pumpkin!
Gosh!!”

And he went on to say:
“Never again will I try to plan the world for God.

> Instead I shall be thankful to Him, for He has done so well…
… He knows what’s best for me, every time!”

The knowledge and wisdom of God is indeed incomprehensible…
… In His Wisdom, He has created all things good
… By His Knowledge, He has fashioned all things for the best use

Are we ready to let go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God…
… the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future?

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Bartholomew…
… who experienced this great Knowledge and Wisdom of the Lord in his encounter with Jesus

>> And surrendered his life, to follow the Master, till the end – faithfully!

When we compare the Gospels, we notice something interesting…
1. Bartholomew is not mentioned in the Gospel of John – but Nathanael is!

> Nathanael is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels (Mathew, Mark and Luke) – but Bartholomew is!

  1. In the Gospel of John, Nathanael is mentioned in connection with Philip
    >> In the Synoptic Gospels, Bartholomew is mentioned in connection with Philip

Thus, based on these aspects along with the ancient tradition of the Church, Bartholomew and Nathanael are identified as the same person.

The Gospel of the Day on this Feast Day is the call of Nathanael from the Gospel of St John.

The Gospel says that when Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him:
“Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (Jn 1: 47)

On hearing this, Nathanael said to Jesus: “How do You know me?” (Jn 1: 48a)

This question – How do You know me?” – is indeed worth reflecting on.

> From a peripheral look, we observe…
… This was probably the first time Jesus was meeting him, so Nathanael naturally was wondering how he was known.
… Nathanael also did not have a very high opinion regarding Nazareth, the place where Jesus came from and so would have wondered how a Person from there, knew him.

> On a deeper level, we also observe…
… Nathanael was probably feeling within himself, “Does He really know who I am and what are the thoughts and desires of my heart?”
… He perhaps, was also wondering, “Would He also be knowing my past and perhaps even have an idea about my future?”

“How do You know me?” – the question by Nathanael to Jesus is a query asked by us too…
… perhaps in various forms..

  1. “How do you know my past?”

> Do you really know, O Lord, my past…
… the struggling times that I have gone through?
… the bad childhood, perhaps, or the disturbing experiences as I grew up in life?
… the hurts and the wounds and the injuries that I still carry in my heart and causes me pain?

  1. “How do you know my present?”

> Do you really know, O Lord, my present…
… the manner in which I am not accepted by others?
… the ways in which success evades me, despite the hard efforts I put in?
… the daily grinds of life to which I often have no solution and thus totally discouraged?

  1. “How do you know my future?”

> Do you really know, O Lord, my future…
… the anxieties of my unclear future and the fear of which direction I need to go ahead?
… the feeling of “I am lost” while taking decisions and unsure if I am walking the right path?
… the tension I go through on what will happen to me and my loved ones in the days to come?

But the Lord, Who answered Nathanael…
… had the knowledge of his past… his present… and his future

> The Present: “Here IS a true Israelite. There IS no duplicity in him” (Jn 1: 47)
> The Past: “Before Philip called you, I SAW you under the fig tree” (Jn 1: 48b)
> The Future: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, you WILL see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (Jn 1: 51)

Turning His gaze on each one of us…
… with tenderness and love, the Lord tells us:
” I know you, My Child!
I know your past…your present… and your future”

Psalm 139 very beautifully speaks of how…
… the Lord intimately knows us!
… the Lord is clearly aware of all our thoughts and movements!
… the Lord is very personally with us in every situation of our life!

This Lord, Who knows our everything – beyond the borders of time – invites us…
… to trust in Him more
… to be aware of His Providence guiding us always!
… to give ourselves entirely to Him in love and obedience!

Many times, we might feel things are not okay with us…
… we might even complain against God and have an attitude: ” If I were God, I think I could do better than that!”

But those could be moments, when we are given a gentle reminder by the Lord…
… through perhaps, some difficulties or troubles in life…

> Which ought to make us realize:
“Never again will I try to plan the world for God.
Instead I shall be thankful to Him, for He has done so well…
… He knows what’s best for me, every time!”

May St Bartholomew (St Nathanael) intercede and inspire us:

> To let go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God…
… the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future!

Happy Feast Day to you!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ A person who is in God’s Hands ought never to disquiet himself about his reputation.

> Let God do what He will with our life and our character and our honour, since it is all His own.

If our humiliation serves for His glory, ought we not to glory in being despised!”

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