Philip brings the skeptical Nathanael to Jesus and He supernaturally reveals hidden things to Nathanael, causing Nathanael to instantly call Jesus the Son of God and King of Israel. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by growing the Virtue of Fortitude so he can joyfully and boldly proclaim Christ to others and by building the Virtue of Truth so that he can always speak truth in this Age of Lies. 

Liturgy

Christmastime – January 5 or the Thursday before Epiphany – Jn 1:43-51

Commentary

Moving toward the celebration of Epiphany (“to manifest, disclose, discover, conspicuous“) which recalls when the Wise Men (the Magi) travel great distances to worship the Christ Child, Jesus’ Holy Catholic Church recalls the calling of the early Apostles. After His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and His recruiting of Peter, Andrew and John the Evangelist, Jesus walks a long distance, some 60 miles, from the Jordan River back to His home region of Galilee. 

During His arduous journey back to Galilee, Jesus calls two more Apostles. He sees Philip and simply says, “Follow Me”, and Philip follows. Quickly, Philip becomes convinced about Jesus’ true hidden identity as the Messiah and tells Nathanael, also called Bartholomew. Nathanael is skeptical, perhaps because Nazareth was a small “backwater” town and because the Messiah was not expected to come from Nazareth. Philip persists, saying, “Come and see”, the exact phrase Jesus used when He called Andrew and John the Evangelist. 

As Nathanael approaches, Jesus mysteriously knows Nathanael and his heart, saying Nathanael is a true straight-shooting Israelite (no guile); in this, Jesus confirms His call to Israel. Stunned, Nathanael wonders how Jesus knows him. Jesus’ simple, but supernatural, vision of Nathanael under the fig tree convinces Nathanael; Jesus’ words tie together multiple prophecies from the Old Testament that a “true Israelite” would recognize, including that the name, “Nazareth”, and the word “branch”, share the same Hebrew root word neser, and that a 1300-year-old prophecy of Isaiah foresaw that the Messiah would be a branch that came from the stump of Jesse. Now fully comprehending Jesus’ identity due to His supernatural vision and its prophetic meaning, the formerly skeptical Nathanael ecstatically reveals that Jesus is both the Son of God and the King of Israel. A great consolation to Nathanael, Jesus affirms Nathanael’s words and prophesizes he will see even greater miracles. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be filled with awe at the revelations of Jesus, the Divine Prophet: Jesus is out of eyesight of Nathanael but supernaturally “sees” that he has been sitting under a tree; He accurately knows the deepest aspects of Nathanael’s personality; He reveals future supernatural visions of angels which the Apostles will experience; Nathanael is stunned, recognizing the supernatural nature of Jesus’ words, instantly calling Him the Son of God. 

Joyfully and boldly proclaim Jesus

Realize: When a Catholic man invites others to draw close to Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church, he can often meet indifference or hostility; every Catholic man simply needs to imitate Philip’s persistence despite Nathanael’s initial skepticism. 

Believe: Reflect upon your personal calling to Evangelize (CCC 1-3).

Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, King of Fortitude, help me build the Virtue of Fortitude so I overcome the fear of being rejected and courageously persist in telling others about You, so they can have the greatest of blessings to know You, to receive Your peace and happiness and to have the supreme opportunity to spend eternity with You, the Father and the Holy Spirit in Heaven. 

Speak the Truth in this Age of Lies

Realize: Satan, the Father of Lies, has inspired widespread embrace of lying, deceit, and manipulation by the powerful in this Age of Lies. In stark contrast, Jesus is Truth Himself (Jn 14:6) and confirms the absolute necessity for men to embrace truth when He compliments Nathanael for his honesty (no guile).

Believe: Reflect upon The 8th Commandment (CCC 2504-2513).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Truth, help me to build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice), so I always speak the truth in this Age of Lies.