Friends, in a conversation with Jesus in today’s Gospel, Nathaniel (usually identified with the Apostle Bartholomew) makes the earliest New Testament profession of faith in Christ’s divinity: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God.” Faith is the virtue upon which Christianity rests and is the capacity to see beyond the senses to a deeper or higher reality.
There is an anticipation of faith in Plato’s parable of the cave, in which a man escapes from a cavern where he had been forced to see only flickering shadows on the wall. When he emerges from the darkness, he is blinded by the intensity of the sunlight. When his eyes adjust, he surveys a new world of depth and color.
In a similar way, Christianity holds that God’s revelation draws us beyond what we can know and introduces us to a dimension of being, vibrating at a higher pitch. To be a person of faith is to know that the universe of the senses is but the tip of the iceberg, a gateway. And it is to resist the idolatry of Enlightenment rationalism, which tells us that only superstition and obscurantism lie beyond what we human beings can measure.