Feast of Saint Bartholomew
Jesus loves sincerity! He says Nathaniel is a true Israelite. The word true in Greek is alēthōs and means unhidden. What you see is what you get. How consoling to meet someone without fearing to step on a concealed land mine. A sincere person sparks confidence and trust.
Jesus adds to the word truth the observation that Nathaniel is without guile. The word guile in the original Greek New Testament means a bait to exploit someone. It reminds me of when I was young putting a nice big fat twisting worm on a hook to catch a Channel Catfish in Mississippi river. Guile means advertising the bait and concealing the hook! A deceitful person is one out to take advantage of another. In effect it is the opposite of love. Far from serving another I am out to use them for my purposes.
Jesus was deeply distressed by insincerity. He often uses the word hypocrisy to describe duplicity. This word is taken from the theater and means a mask. You are lying to people pretending to be someone you are not. Lawrence Olivier said a great actor is a great liar! We find Jesus using the strongest language in New Testament condemning duplicity. Whitewashed tombs, dirty cups, devourers of widows, corrupting corpses are some of the choice words He uses.
This feast day of St Bartholomew gives us the opportunity to examine ourselves. Am I a sincere person? Am I an imitator of Jesus who said He has come to serve and not to be served? Am I wearing a mask to take advantage of others? Am I a duplicitous person out to use others for my personal gain? If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we might see some disturbing things about ourselves that distress Our Lord.
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.