Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!”
Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters Nathanael for the first time. Yet, Jesus knows both trivial details about what Nathanael had been doing with this day and also about the depth and goodness of Nathanael’s heart. Nathanael recognizes Jesus as the Son of God simply because he feels known through a simple encounter. It’s incredible to think each one of us are also known in that depth by the God that created us.
There is a gift in being known. When someone knows and loves you, they are far more likely to be patient with you when you are crabby or angry or needing support. Those people know you aren’t like this regularly. I wish I was able to approach my relationship with God with the same confidence. God knows both the trivial things that are complicating my days or frustrating me, as well as the bigger issues permeating my heart. I can bring all the content of my life to prayer, knowing God will always be patient with me. Today, we are invited to acknowledge that we are known and feel free to bring all parts of our lives to prayer.
—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.
Oh, Lord my God,
You called me from the sleep of nothingness merely because in your tremendous love you want to make good and beautiful beings.
You have called me by my name in my mother’s womb.
You have given me breath and light and movement and walked with me every moment of my existence.
I am amazed, Lord God of the universe, that you attend to me and more, cherish me.
Create in me the faithfulness that moves you, and I will trust you and yearn for you all my days.
—Joseph Tetlow, SJ, published in Hearts on Fire