Ps 145:10-13, 17-18John 1:45-51www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082417.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_08_24.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Philip found Nathanael and told him,
“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
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.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Good News Reflection: Discovering precious gems
You are the bride of the Lamb, as depicted in today’s first reading. (Okay, okay, I know it’s hard for men to see themselves as brides, but let’s get away from gender restrictions for a moment.) Women and men who love Jesus belong to the Church — symbolized in this reading as “Jerusalem” — which is the bride of Christ.
You are gleaming with the splendor of God. You are a precious jewel that sparkles like a diamond. The gates into God’s kingdom have been opened for you by our Jewish heritage (the 12 tribes of Israel) and the teachings of the 12 Apostles.
At your baptism, you were united (married) to Jesus as priest, prophet and king. In Paragraph 2 of the Decree of the Apostolate of Lay People from Vatican Council II, we’re told that “to the apostles and their successors [the ordained priests] Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in his name and by his power [the definition of authority in the Church, which empowers the lay faithful]. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical and kingly office of Christ” and are therefore no less important in the mission of Christ.
By joining ourselves to Christ’s sanctifying priesthood, his prophetic role as teacher of truth, and his kingly responsibility to protect those in our care from straying from the truth, we are all precious. We don’t need to wear expensive jewels — we are expensive jewels! Remember the price that Jesus paid for you. You’re worth it, according to his idea of what’s valuable.
Do you sometimes think you’re worthless junk? God doesn’t see you that way. Even when you sin, he never stops noticing the gem that is the real you underneath the garbage. Learn to see yourself as God sees you.
And what about the people who make your life difficult? The rebellious kids. The over-demanding boss. The person at church who’s causing division. The alcoholic who refuses to get help. The ex-spouse. And so on.
We need to remember that beneath their garbage is a precious gem, made in the image of God. Jesus is inviting them to conversion and growth, repentance and healing. He’s inviting them to clean off the muck that’s accumulated on their gems. In today’s Gospel reading, we see this happen to Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew), who begins to shine with God’s glory as he recognizes that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.
The more we learn what it means to be the bride of the Lamb, the more our inner gems shine the way the Father designed us to shine.
Beloved Lord, may my expectations never prevent me from seeing Your hand in everything and in everyone. I praise You and thank You, because You invite me to discover the wonders around me, the fruit of Your immense love for us. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica