Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
Revelation 21:9b-14, Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 17-18, & John 1:45-51
The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew by Andrea Vaccaro, circa 1630-1670
In today's Gospel narrative, Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew the Apostle, whose feast we celebrate today, is presented to us as someone who is quite prejudiced. He could not believe that Jesus is the promised liberator and savior because He comes from Nazareth, a small and insignificant town. At the same time, he is a good man who genuinely seeks to understand the truth. Jesus recognizes him as such and calls him a "true child of Israel." Our Lord makes a cryptic reference to having seen him under a fig tree. In ancient Israel, people assembled in the shadow of the fig tree to discuss important matters of life and faith. In other words, having seen Nathanael under the fig tree means that Jesus recognizes him as someone who honestly seeks the truth.
Nathanael has shortcomings, and at the same time, he is also trying to live his faith. In that, he is like all of us. We have faults and do many things that contradict our faith. At the same time, we also seek to understand our faith, be active members in our faith community, and strive to live our faith through prayer and acts of charity.
Nathanael is a good role model. He is honest and straightforward. He wouldn't lie, even out of politeness, or even to "save his skin." However, he wasn't so stubborn that he wouldn't change his mind when the situation warranted. We should all be as true to ourselves as Nathanael, who becomes Bartholomew, the apostle who served in India until his martyrdom.
Question of the Day: How will you seek to live your faith as a true disciple of Jesus?
Prayer: "Lord strengthen our faith like Your Apostle Saint Bartholomew who adhered to Your Son with sincerity of mind. Through his intercession, grant that Your Church may become a sacrament of salvation for all nations. Amen." (Lives of the Saints, Illustrated)