There’s no better way to know the Truth than to allow ourselves to be challenged by experience.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
The passage from John’s Gospel that we read today testifies to the way in which the Gospel spread throughout history. Indeed, it all happened by contact and experience: Jesus meets Philip and calls him; Philip meets Nathanael and calls him; and so on. Faith always reaches us through someone.
This other person who engages us is always an extension of Jesus for us. We are all called by Jesus, but he uses the words, the arms, the feet, and the faces of many people to call us. And very often, in response to this call, our resistance emerges:
“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ But Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’”
Nathanael contrasts Philip’s words with his own prejudice about the inhabitants of Nazareth. A contemporary philosopher, Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002), argued that none of us is ever impartial when we think or when we judge something; we’re always affected by our conditioning, prejudices that we have formed precisely because of the life we have lived up to that point. The most mistaken thing we can do is to be satisfied with our prejudices, that is, to call Truth what are only beliefs that we have accumulated over time.
There’s no better way to know the Truth than to allow ourselves to be challenged by experience: “Come and see,” Philip tells him.
We know that Nathanael accepts the invitation, and because of this he will meet a man who will change his life, Jesus the Son of God. But all this would not have been possible if he had settled for living with his prejudices. Many people reject faith precisely because they are content with their prejudices.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.