24 August 2017
I think I know what you’re thinking. What is this word? What on earth does it mean?
It comes from the Greek and means “wittiness.”
Aristotle, the great philosopher, had it as one of his virtues, referring to pleasantness in conversation.
I rather like that, I must say. Nothing worse than talking to someone who doesn’t have a sense of humour, lacks a bit of wit.
It was Woody Allen, I think, who once said that a “comedy is thirty minutes after a tragedy.”
Indeed. Humour, wittiness, playfulness in conversation and in life in general is good, don’t you think? Somehow it symbolises trust in God’s providence. Things can be tough, but there is always – inevitably, I’d say – a lighter perspective.
Today’s Gospel – John 1:45-51 – for the feast of St. Bartholomew is a case in point. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems that Aristotle’s virtue is present in the encounter between Jesus and Bartholomew, otherwise known as Nathanael:
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’
Nathanael is blessed. He has met a Rabbi who he recognises as the Son of God. It all started, it seems, with banter.
Might this Gospel scene be of help to us in our relationship with the Lord? Help it to be a bit more light hearted, joyful and pleasant?