"Here is a faithful Israelite in whom there is no guile." John 1:48 The word for guile is dolos in Greek and it originates from the meaning of decoy. Hunters place wood ducks in the water to trick live ducks to come down to a safe place to rest. They then shoot them. In the epistle of 1 Pet 2:22 Jesus is described: "no guile was found in his mouth". Jesus loves sincerity because He is sincere. He is the truth that abhors falsehood. We should not use so much makeup when we approach the Lord!
We live in a world of guile. Packaging is more important than contents. We spend three times more for an attractive box than for the contents of breakfast cereal. Looks dominate reality. We can easily believe that if we look young, we are young. Truth always threatens falsehood. Moderns are terrified by truth. They love to live in a world of relevancy. God is the great Absolute, the destroyer of makeups and masks.
Guile is a not so subtle form lying. In the movie North by Northwest Cary Grant says: "In the world of advertising there is no such thing as lying, only expedient exaggeration!" We must approach the Lord without guile. Jesus can only help us if we bring our real selves to him. Perhaps we can fool others, and certainly we can fool ourselves, but we can never fool God. Nathaniel was sincere and was chosen as a key person in the Church.
Our English word sincere comes from Latin. Sine means without: cere means wax. Dealers used to try to sell statues that were chipped by covering the damaged parts with wax so that it would not be noticed. We must be sincere, without wax, when we approach God and neighbor. It is a consoling truth that God is the only one we can and must approach without guile!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.