Thursday, September 29, 2005

That Fig Tree Moment

Today's Gospel was John 1:47-51, and I presume it was chosen because of its reference to angels, today being the great feast of the Archangels:

Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Whatever was Nathanael doing under that fig tree? It must have been private, because Jesus' saying that He saw him amazed Nathanel so much, he was startled into revelation: "You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" In the lines before today's reading, Nathanael had just sneered "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" So he wasn't expecting much when He met Jesus.

So, let's see, he could have been praying, asking God to send a Messiah. Or asking God to reveal Himself. Or sitting in simple adoration. Or, he could have been sinning. Leaving behind the vulgar choices of sin that MY sinful mind can dredge up, let's say that perhaps he was doubting that God existed. "I am tired of praying to a God I cannot see or feel. I've had it with God. This is as good a time as any to say the heck with God!" Then he dusted off his hands, so to speak, and went on, "free" of God. And then along came Jesus.

We talk a lot about Emmaus moments, and "falling off our horses," but there are Fig Tree Moments in our lives as well, when Jesus shows us that He can indeed see us in our most private joys and sorrows, and wants us to feel His presence.


TS said...

The Word Among Us has a nice meditation on this too:

"In his day, it was common for rabbis and their students to study Hebrew Scripture while sitting in the shade of a leafy tree. In fact, in the Jewish tradition, the expression “to sit under the fig tree” meant to be engaged in studying the Scriptures."

Julie D. said...

I was going to post that very paragraph today and just didn't get to it. Imagine my surprise to see this post and then your comment tso. :-)

TS said...

Yep Jules, I knew you're a fellow devotee of The Word Among Us and beat you to the punch!



Sample Text

We are grateful ladies with a point of view and a sense of humor. Like-hearted people are welcome. Others, too.

For a glimpse at our lighter side, hop over to In Dwelling.

E-mail us.

Sample text

"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

Pres. Barack Obama, Feb 5, 2009