By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THAT amusing story about how Nathanael or St. Bartholomew became one of the apostles can only tell us that God is attracted to persons who are simple, childlike, without guile, and are so transparent that they are unashamed, like little children, to show their warts and other forms of human weakness. (cfr. Jn 1,45-51)
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?,” he retorted when told by Philip that they have found the one foretold by Moses. For that response, Christ who could read the minds of people, could not help but say, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.”
And it’s very interesting to note that this dubious quality of Nathanael must also have led him to quickly recognize Christ as the one foretold by Moses when Christ told him something.
Nathanael embodies the ordinary person who, in spite of warts and all, still has that basic, irreducible trait of exposing his heart, no matter how defective, to the truth. He does not run away nor hide from it.
He is truly a man with no guile, no pretensions, no need for covering. Except for the normal need for discretion and modesty, he is completely transparent. What you see is what you get.
More, he is willing and eager to know the truth, and to make the necessary changes and adjustments that such truth would require of him. He is humble enough to accept things as they are, never bending them to make the pieces fit his own ideas. Rather, the contrary.
That’s why you immediately feel good every time you meet such persons. They always exude such welcome and wholesome aura about themselves in spite of their imperfections. They contribute in making society more at peace and in harmony.
Children are such persons, though their being guileless is due to their innocence and lack of exposure to the world. When you see such quality in a person who is already exposed to the world, then you would really feel good.
Let’s remember and imitate St. Bartholomew in his simplicity of heart and sincerity. His story shows that before we look for the truth, it is God first, Truth himself, who looks for us. And we should just try to correspond as best that we can.
Once we find it, let’s earnestly engage ourselves to it, never playing around with it to serve our self-interest, but rather conforming ourselves steadily to its requirements.
This is when we can see more things, just as our Lord said: “Blessed are your eyes because they see…. For amen I say to you, many prophets and just men have desired to see the things you see, and have not seen them…” (Mt 13,16-17)
Otherwise, we would get our just deserts. Let’s remember St. Paul’s warning: “Because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved, God therefore shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying.” (2 Thes 2,10)
Let’s see to it that even as we immerse ourselves in the increasingly complicated world of our temporal affairs, we should remain and deepen our childlike simplicity, staying away from any trace of self-righteousness.
It’s actually only then that we would be more able to properly deal with whatever complications and complexities the world presents to us, since we would be with God, and therefore in the side of truth and charity.