Friday, August 24, 2012

Ven y ve

That's Spanish for "Come and see" a common expression used by Spanish speakers. I would dare say most of them today do not realize the biblical origins of the phrase. It is Philip's response when today's saint Bartholomew (Nathaniel) asks the question, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

The question is rude and harsh but it does have one virtue; it's honest. As Jesus says of him. There is no "dolos"in him. This Greek word can be translated trickery, wile, deceit. You may not like what he says but he is honest. He says what he actually thinks.

Many an opinionated loud-mouth has look at this passage and found in it biblical permission for being rude. Not so fast.

First of all notice that his is a question, not a statement of what he believes to be fact. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, while his question betrays a certain prejudice on his part, he is open to changing his mind. He goes and sees, he believes, and becomes not only a disciple but an apostle.

Can the same be said of most of us who love to "speak our mind" and try to claim it as a virtue? My experience is that most of those who like to think of themselves as "just being honest", or "being prophetic", are not asking questions or open to changing their minds but firmly locked in the belief that they hold absolute truth already.

Our speech like so many things today seems to fall into one of two extremes. On the one hand the opinionated loud-mouths certain that they are right. On the other hand those whose words are so carefully chosen that they say nothing, reveal nothing of what they actually believe.

Once more the gospel presents with the example of perfect balance in the person of St. Bartholomew.