August 2011 Recollection Guide
August 19, 2020
Matthew 23:23-26
August 25, 2020

John 1:45-51 St. Bartolomew

St. Bartholomew – Feast August 24
Revelation 21:9-14
John 1:45-51

 

A. Text/Context

  • There is very little to know about the apostle St. Bartholomew because there are very few writings written about the life of this apostle that are existent today
  • But the scholars have agreed that St. Bartholomew is also identified as Nathaniel. The call of Nathaniel is also identified with the call of the apostles
  • Nathaniel is known in the gospel because he followed Jesus secretly but faithfully thus identifying him as an apostle
  • The faithful followers of the law know whom they are waiting for because they follow the teachings of the prophets. Everybody is waiting for the Messiah
  • And apparently one of them is already the disciple of Jesus by the name of Philip who was responsible in the introduction of Nathaniel to Jesus
  • But the reaction of Nathaniel in the pre- introduction is this: Can anything good come from Nazareth? This is something that is bothersome because what follows is the question: What is wrong with Nazareth?
  • Why would Nathaniel has to say that. There is a certain bias when it comes to the reputation of the town of Nazareth as it suffers a bad press
  • Remember also that in one of the episodes in the preaching ministry of Jesus is that he was rejected and was almost pushed down in a hill
  • A little research would yield us a background that Nazareth is popular with rebellion against the Roman rule and many Jews are killed as rebellions are quelled by the Roman authorities
  • And this could have contributed to the nasty reputation of Nazareth itself
  • This was the mindset of Nathaniel or Bartholomew before he met Jesus through Philip
  • As the gospel puts it when Jesus saw Nathaniel he said: Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him
  • And Nathaniel was shocked because Jesus already knew him beforehand
  • Before Philip called you I saw you under the fig tree. If you are a secret follower you do not expose yourself too much
  • It was not mentioned in the gospel but Nathaniel could be hiding in the dark trying to be near Jesus secretly longing just to be near with Jesus in order to hear and see him
  • Nathaniel acknowledged and he said: Rabbi, you are the son of God. You are the king of Israel

 

B. Human Situation

  • Well, I think you have already experienced meeting people for the first time only and you feel that such person is genuine
  • The persona, the bearing of the person, the ways and manners of the one you meet leaves you an impression that this person is good because you feel it from the inside
  • Jesus knows and feels this is the man who will become one of my disciples
  • You know people who only have the purity of intentions and motivations exude a certain aura of holiness which makes people around them feel at ease and comfortable
  • Nathaniel or Bartholomew is one of them. And of course the rest of the apostles have different characters because they also came from different backgrounds
  • God chooses the lowly, the insignificant. God chooses the humble and the silent. God chooses the person who counts nothing before the eyes of the people
  • God does not look on the physical attributes of the person. God looks at the heart of the person. Jesus simply knew that Nathaniel has a sincere heart
  • So even if St. Bartholomew only follows Christ in secret, it is because he is sincere, no duplicity, plain and simple

 

C. Challenge

  • In this feast of St. Bartholomew we are called to emulate the sincerity and fidelity in following Jesus
  • Of course, sincerity is just the beginning, later on St. Bartholomew would be martyred for the faith like all the rest of the apostles who spilled their blood for the sake of the kingdom
  • So finally we can only appreciate the goodness of God because of what happened to Nathaniel
  • Even if our heart is lukewarm, God still has room for us all if we continue to seek for him

 

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