Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him."
In Jesus’ encounters with his apostles he liked to point out a special blessing given them by his Father. Thus, he noted that Peter was a rock, or James and John were sons of thunder. With Nathanael (Bartholomew) he said he was a man without duplicity or guile. The Greek word for duplicity is dolos which means deceit, dishonesty, treachery, trickery, fraud. The word comes from dello which means to decoy. With Nathanael what you saw is what you got! The Hebrew Scriptures spoke frequently against duplicity. The Hebrew word was nasha’ which meant deceit. "The serpent deceived me, and I did eat." Gen 3:13 Sin entered the world through guile and has been a part of it since the beginning. There are many different words for pretence in the Hebrew and Greek but they touch on same theme of deception either given or received.
I think one of the greatest dangers in the spiritual life is deception. We can be deceived by outside forces or deceive ourselves. The more we think we are not in deception the more deeply we are. As we get wiser in the things of God, the more we are aware of our deception. How many of us really know ourselves when the world around us sees a very different me! An antonym for guile and deception Is honesty. Jesus loved the honesty of Nathanael. He will love our honesty which is our truthfulness with ourselves and others.
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.