- Saturday, 24 August 2019 -
Saint Bartholomew, apostle - Feast
Readings of day

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 1:45-51.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him."
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."
Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this."
And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Benedict XVI
“Come and see”: the apostle Bartholomew-Nathanael meets the Son of God

      The apostle Bartholomew has traditionally been identified with Nathanael:  a name that means "God has given". This Nathanael came from Cana (cf. Jn 21: 2) and he may therefore have witnessed the great "sign" that Jesus worked in that place (cf. Jn 2: 1-11). It is likely that the identification of the two figures stems from the fact that Nathanael is placed in the scene of his calling, recounted in John's Gospel, next to Philip, in other words, the place that Bartholomew occupies in the lists of the Apostles mentioned in the other Gospels.       Philip told this Nathanael that he had found "him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (Jn 1: 45). As we know, Nathanael's retort was rather strongly prejudiced:  "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1: 46). In its own way, this form of protestation is important for us.  Indeed, it makes us see that according to Judaic expectations the Messiah could not come from such an obscure village as, precisely, Nazareth (see also Jn 7: 42). But at the same time Nathanael's protest highlights God's freedom, which baffles our expectations by causing him to be found in the very place where we least expect him. Moreover, we actually know that Jesus was not exclusively "from Nazareth" but was born in Bethlehem (cf. Mt 2: 1; Lk 2: 4) and came ultimately from Heaven, from the Father who is in Heaven.       Nathanael's reaction suggests another thought to us: in our relationship with Jesus we must not be satisfied with words alone. In his  answer,  Philip offers Nathanael a meaningful invitation:  "Come and see!" (Jn 1: 46). Our knowledge of Jesus needs above all a first-hand experience: someone else's testimony is of course important, for normally  the  whole  of  our  Christian life begins with the proclamation handed  down  to  us  by  one  or  more  witnesses, but afterwards we ourselves have to become personally committed in a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus.

General Audience, 4 November 2006  - Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana