I've always loved St. Nathaniel, (son of Tholomew, hence Bartholomew). After Philip invites Nathaniel to "Come and see," because he has found the Messiah, he takes him to Jesus. Nathaniel is a bit skeptical. "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"Jesus greets Nathaniel saying, "Here is a true Israelite; there is no duplicity in him." What a compliment. Wouldn't you want others to say that about you?
But what I especially love about Philip approaching Nathaniel is that in his time with Jesus he has learned to echo the Master. He responds to Nathaniel by speaking the same words Jesus spoke to Andrew and John. John the Baptist had pointed Jesus out to them saying, "There is the Lamb of God." So they followed Jesus and asked where he was staying. "Come and see," He replies. I can imagine His smile as they walk along conversing.
"Come and see."
In his first letter Peter advises the community to "be ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you." What a perfect time to say, "Come and see."
The priest who witnessed our marriage often advised people to "make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ." Do we shy away from sharing the good news of the gospel? Are we afraid to offend by offering an invitation that may be unwelcome? What a tragedy if someone never comes to know Christ, because we were too afraid to be generous with the blessings we have in the faith.
Simply telling friends who are struggling that you will pray for them is a seed planted. Do you wear a miraculous medal or another symbol of your faith? Just explaining what it is you wear and why is a seed planted. If we ask the Lord every morning to give us opportunities to share our faith, He will gladly answer that prayer.
I remember being in the hospital in 1986 having surgery for breast cancer. I told the Lord I would be happy to be used while I was there. He took my offer seriously. One night when I couldn't sleep, I walked down to the lounge about midnight and found a young woman crying. I don't remember what we talked about but I stayed for a long time listening to her, just listening and encouraging.
The nursing staff asked if I would mind having an elderly nun in my room because she was confused and they thought she needed company. I spent three or four days with her. She would talk to her bird that, in her confusion, she saw and heard in the room. I chatted with her and brought her things and even rinsed her false teeth. One of the nurses said to me one day, "We don't know what we'll do if you go home first." She left before I did. Those were the days when they kept breast cancer patients for about a week.
How many opportunities will we have this week to invite someone to "Come and see?" Perhaps the invitation won't be that explicit, maybe it will just be listening to someone in distress. But we will all have many opportunities to plant a seed or water one planted by another. On Judgment Day we will see the harvest. Let us pray for a large one.
St. Nathaniel, pray for us.