HOMILY FOR THURSDAY WEEKDAY BEFORE EPIPHANY.










HOMILY FOR THURSDAY WEEKDAY BEFORE EPIPHANY.

THEME: THE CALL OF NATHANIEL.

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

HOMILY FOR JANUARY 5TH.

John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And he said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. 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 Israelite. 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 the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

The Gospel today is the continuation of John’s account of the call of the first disciples. The events recorded here happened ‘the next day’ after the call of Andrew and ‘the other disciple’, presumably John. This is the call of the next two disciples, Philip and Nathanael. It says that Jesus now moves from the banks of Jordan River, and goes to Galilee.

He finds Philip there, and invites him to be a disciple: “Follow me.” Philip comes from Bethsaida, the hometown also of Simon and Andrew. As in the case of Andrew, after coming to know Jesus, Philip is deeply moved by his experience of being with the Lord. He has to share this joyful experience to someone else. That someone is Nathanael. He enthusiastically told him: “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

Nathanael, however, was not easily impressed: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” His response is understandable because Nazareth is not known to most of the people of Israel. It is a very small town in a remote place. It is not mentioned even once in the prophecies.

Nevertheless, Philip did not mind this cynical remark. Instead, he replied, “Come and see!” It was the same response that Jesus gave to the two disciples in yesterday’s event. One should not judge anybody based on stories, stereotypes and impressions. A personal and direct experience is the best way to know a person.

RELATED: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY WITHIN CHRISTMAS TIME

When Jesus saw Nathanael, He said, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” This statement could mean two things. On the surface, it can be a compliment: “You are a faithful child of Abraham.” On a deeper level, this statement would remind any Jew about the patriarch Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel. By saying that Nathanael was a true Israelite because there was no guile in him, Jesus could be making fun of him, because Jacob (Israel) was a man full of duplicity and falsehood. Perhaps this is the Lord’s subtle way of giving Nathanael a dose of his own medicine for his derogatory remark against the people of Nazareth.

Then Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” The fig tree was a place of rest and comfort. In the Hebrew Bible, the fig tree was seen as a symbol of messianic peace: “They shall all sit under their own vines, under their own fig trees, undisturbed; for the Lord of hosts has spoken” (Mic 4:4). The image of the fig tree is also used by the ancient prophets to describe God’s kingdom at the end of time. After describing how God would remove the sin of the high priest and the land, the prophet Zechariah wrote, “On that day—oracle of the Lord of hosts—you will invite one another under your vines and fig trees” (Zech 3:10). Because of this, sitting under a fig tree is considered by faithful Israelites as an image of prayer, hope and expectation.

By using these two literary images, Jesus is sending the message that He understands Nathanael’s deep longing for the coming of the Messiah and the deliverance of Israel. These words of Jesus moved Nathanael to profess his profound faith: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Just on the first chapter of Gospel, John has already listed three messianic titles of Jesus – Messiah, Son of God, and King of Israel – all pointing to the divinity of Jesus.

In response to Nathanael’s profession of faith, Jesus said, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” He talked about the stairway to heaven, and angels ascending and descending, joining heaven and earth. This has reference to Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:12. Here, Jesus used this image to convey the message that this stairway is not just a dream. It is now a reality in Jesus, for through His Incarnation, He is the only Mediator between God and man, the stairway through which we ascend to the heavenly Father.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

FOR MORE HOMILIES CLICK >>>>




Dearest Friend of Homily Hub, We need about $1350 to pay up our subscription debts. We do not only publish the Word of God, we also have a charity Foundation. We accept donations as low as $5. Please, listen to the voice of God in your heart, you could be an answer to our prayers to God. You can also send checks. Fill the simple form below to Donate>>>