Jesus liked Nathanael! "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" John 1:48 I remember Bishop May of St Louis when he was alive would go out of his way to pass on a compliment he heard about you. As a young priest this meant a great deal to me. It was an assurance of a gift from God and a shared joy of recognition.
Jesus praises Nathanael for his faithfulness and openness and wins him over for life. He recognized the gift of His Father in Nathanael and shares in the joy of confirmation. What an example for us. How often do I attest the gifts of another? It has always struck me as a mark of spiritual immaturity not to be able to confirm the gifts of another. After all, they are the wonderful works of God. We fail to praise God when we fail to acknowledge the gifts of others. C S Lewis said when God commands us to praise Him He is inviting us to join in His joy over His creation.
I fear too often we see the gifts of others as some form of a threat to us. We can easily forget that in His Body, the church, we deeply depend on the gifts of others. We cannot exist spiritually as isolationists but as members of the great Body of Christ. Paul tells us: "For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable". 1Cor 12:19
In summary, we would be wise to imitate Jesus in praising the gifts of God in others. It certainly will make their day! It will also make our day in rejoicing in seeing our brothers and sisters as part of myself in Christ!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. gives parish missions and retreats. He is a member of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.