Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – Christmastime – Thursday before Epiphany – John 1:43-51
Moving toward the celebration of Epiphany (“to manifest, disclose, discover, conspicuous“) on which the Magi worship the Christ Child, the Church recalls the calling of the early Apostles. After His baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist and the recruiting of Peter, Andrew and John the Evangelist, Christ decides to return (60 miles) from the Jordan River to His home region of Galilee.
Along the way, Christ calls two more Apostles. Christ sees Philip and simply says, “Follow Me” and Philip follows. Quickly, Philip becomes convinced about Christ’s identity as the Messiah and finds and tells Nathanael (also called Bartholomew). Nathanael is skeptical, perhaps because Nazareth was a small “backwater” town and because the Messiah was not expected to come from Nazareth. Philip persists, saying “Come and see”, the exact phrase Christ used when He called Andrew and John the Evangelist.
As Nathanael approaches, Jesus mysteriously knows Nathanael and his heart, saying that Nathanael is a true straight-shooting (no guile) Israelite; in this Christ confirms His call to Israel. Stunned, Nathanael wonders how Christ knows him. Christ’s simple, but supernatural vision of Nathanael under the fig tree convinces Nathanael; Christ utterance ties together multiple prophecies the “true Israelite” who knows the Old Testament would recognize (including that Nazareth shares the Hebrew root word neser, meaning branch from which the Messiah will spring). Now fully comprehending Christ’s identity due to both Christ’s supernatural vision and its prophetic meaning, the formerly skeptical Nathanael reveals that Christ is both the Son of God and King of Israel. A great consolation, Christ affirms Nathanael’s words and prophesizes he will see even greater miracles.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ demonstrates supernatural insight into both Philip and Nathanael. Divine King, Christ deliberately recruits His core group of Apostles around whom He will build His Catholic Church. Divine Prophet, Christ inspires and uses the Scriptures to evangelize men and prophesizes about future events that come true.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Marvel at Christ’s deep insight into the hearts of men and His ability to “see” the unseen Nathanael sitting under a fig tree.
2) Many Catholic men get stuck, failing to courageously engage in the Spiritual Warfare with sin and failing to draw closer to their King. Realize that Christ invites you personally to “Follow Me” and pray for Him to give you the grace to do so.
3) Part of every Catholic man’s mission is to be a disciple who goes and makes disciples (Matt 28:19). Pray for Christ to give you the wisdom and courage to imitate St. Philip’s invitation to Nathanael to “come and see” Jesus.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist
Virtue of the Day – Fortitude
Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently