In our time, not only money has power, but also notoriety. It is not for nothing they say that notoriety is ready money. Many would like something similar to the Church to come to values, especially eternal life after acquaintance.
Yet, an acquaintance in one is also accurate with God. We see this in the gospel as well. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him, “This is a true Israelite, in whom is no guile.” Nathanael asked him: “How do you know me? (Jn. 1:47-48). Meeting one another brings people, their interests, their lives closer together. In the Gospel, John tells how Philip, who had already been won to Christ by Andrew, meets Nathanael, and in the excitement he feels within himself after meeting Jesus, he wants to part with Nathanael. He tells him about Jesus, who comes from Nazareth, is the son of Joseph and Mary, and Moses writes in the law. Nathanael’s demeanor or reaction to these words from Philip elicits the ironic remark, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth!” (Jn 1:46). Philip must have been clever, for he realized that he would not convince Nathanael by mere enthusiasm. Therefore, he would use the method Jesus used to convince his first two disciples. He says: “Come and see!” (Jn. 1:46) – and it worked. Nathanael does not refuse the invitation to meet Christ, which ends with Nathanael being even more enthusiastic than Philip was when he exclaims: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel!” (Jn 1:49).
What caused this radical change in Nathanael’s attitude? Nathanael did not yet have the concept of the deity of Jesus Christ that we have today, but the first words convinced him of the Lord Jesus, and Nathanael believed that Jesus must be a great prophet. We see that in a short time, Nathanael the despised becomes a disciple, a follower, an apostle of Jesus of Nazareth. This event tells us that our faith journeys are different. Most of us grew up in a Catholic family, in an environment where faith was handed down to us as something we took for granted. Often in such cases, one does not have to fight for one’s faith, one’s convictions, and there are cases where true faith is lost from such an environment. Only a tradition emerges, typically lost, and even with a change of residence, employment status, or age, faith is lost altogether. But we know another way to faith. Recently, this has come to the fore in those families where religion was not lived, where God was spoken of only negatively. People are beginning to search for their faith. Often it is as in the case of Nathanael that they see faith as something unhealthy, unfashionable; maybe they use ironic remarks against religion. This is the way of Nathanael.
What can faith give me in today’s modern world? I have everything; why else belief? Such and similar questions are in more than one case at the beginning. We often must realize that we do not immediately convince our brothers and sisters of such things; we do not convince them with words. They watch our lives; they compare, they examine and only then do they come to their senses, to address us, to come to try among us, to the church… We can say that it is the work of the Holy Spirit if the way to Jesus is often found by those who have lived outside of God and in a hostile, anti-Christ environment. In more than one case, the first encounter with Christ made such a powerful impression that one feels a longing for a new meeting. In another case, one feels, as Nathanael did, that Jesus has known him for a long time, and he has not. There are cases where one feels the love of Jesus so handily that one wonders – what was he doing when he did not accept it before, did not want to know it…? In another case, he sought the truth and found it because he sought it sincerely. There was no fraud in it. Today’s time leads a man to skepticism, but if he does not give in to it and search, he will indeed find it if he desires to know the truth.
Two friends are working in the office. One is a believer, and the other is only baptized. The latter, however, admires the practicing believing colleague. He often asks himself where he gets his strength; his self-control lies, for he is just the opposite. The believing Christian, however, says nothing about Jesus in the workplace. After one difficult test at work, he waits for this practicing believing colleague and asks about the source of his strength, which comes directly from his behavior. The believing Christian knows that his colleague is just a matriarchal Christian, yet he tells him: “I go to Mass every day.” What was his surprise the following day in church when he saw his colleague in it! He began to pray even more fervently for him. He saw him in church the next day and the following week. And thus, a month passed. Once again, their ward was in trouble, and once again, this seeking Christian was out of control. After his shift, he says to his believing colleague: “I won’t come to church tomorrow morning.” That night, the believer prayed for his friend. In the morning, his surprise was even more incredible. His colleague was in church and even proceeded to the sacraments. It was not until a week later that they talked on the subject. The seeking colleague spoke: “I couldn’t sleep that night. In the evening, I was convinced that I would not go to church in the morning. But I didn’t sleep the whole night. I was thinking. And in the morning, I don’t even know how I got up and went to church. As I entered the church, my eyes stopped on the confessional.
I don’t even know how I ended up in it. The chaplain was more worried about me. But I walked away from it with what moved me the most. Years later, I felt an inner peace and a particular strength.” Jesus knows us all. He knows about each one of us. He leads us to Himself in ways we cannot understand, in more ways than one. He allows trials, hardships, sufferings to come upon us. But he does not test anyone beyond our strength. If we persevere, we will conquer. Living with Jesus is hard, but knowing the fruit also gives us the power to persevere. Therefore, let us be whole and complete like Nathanael to Jesus, and the words that Jesus addressed to Nathanael belong to us too: ‘You believe because I have told you: I saw you under the fig tree? Thou shalt see greater things than these.” (Jn 1:50). This is the most beautiful and confident perspective. The meaning of life and its value: Christ the Victor, Christ the King, and Christ the Leader. This is the most valuable knowledge – to have Jesus Himself known. For Jesus said: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven; there neither moth nor rust destroys them, and where thieves do not break through and steal” (Matt. 6:20).