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 Nazareth as a place that was not likely to produce the Messiah.
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” is “deceitful, crafty, or full of guile.” Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart, just as he knows the heart of every man. 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 an iota of deceit or hypocrisy that characterized his time. Can this be said of us today? After having received the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, Bartholomew evangelized Asia Minor, northwestern India, and Greater Armenia. In the latter country, while preaching to idolaters, he was arrested and condemned to death. He is the Patron saint of bookbinders; butchers; cobblers; nervous diseases; neurological diseases; Italy and Armenia. St. Bartholomew, pray for us.
LET US PRAY
Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which the blessed Apostle Bartholomew clung wholeheartedly to your Son, and grant that through the help of his prayers your Church may become for all the nations the sacrament of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen