Revelations 21:9-14; Psalm 145; John 1:45-51
Today is the feast of St Bartholomew, or Nathanael, one of the Twelve apostles. In the Gospel of John, he is always referred to as Nathanael (John 1:45–49; 21:2). Bartholomew is a Hebrew surname meaning “son of Tolmai.” So Nathanael is the son of Tolmai, or Nathanael Bar-Tolmei. In each of the listings of the disciples, the names of Philip and Bartholomew are linked, which could mean they were good friends or even related. He is well known for the statement “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46). He regarded it as a place that was not likely to produce the Messiah. At times we make judgments on people or situations, convinced that we are correct.
Nevertheless, Jesus gives us true insight into the character of Bartholomew. When Jesus saw him coming, He said, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” The Greek word for “false” means “deceitful, crafty, or full of guile.” Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart, just as He knows what is in every heart. Jesus’ assessment of Bartholomew was that he was a “true” son of Abraham, that is, a man who worshiped the true and living God without any of the deceit or hypocrisy that characterized his time. Can this be said of us today? Tradition indicates that Bartholomew was a minister of the gospel in Persia and India and he died a martyr.
St Bartholomew, pray for us.