Feast of St Bartholomew Reflection:
Only one of the apostles is known by two different names, Nathaniel is held to be the same person as Bartholomew, which means ‘son of Thalmai.’ He is mentioned little in the Gospel but the little that we have tells us quite a lot about him.
He has a sense of humour. When his brother Philip came and told him that he had found the Messiah and that he was Jesus of Nazareth, Nathaniel said, “Nazareth, can anything good come from that place?”
But there is something more significant revealed about Nathaniel/Bartholomew; Jesus said that he saw him sitting under a fig tree.
Sitting under a fig tree was a Hebrew way of saying “I saw you deep in prayer” or “deep in meditation.”
Bartholomew was a man of prayer and Jesus noticed something special about the way he prayed or he would not have mentioned it.
The interaction between Jesus and Bartholomew in today’s gospel of the feast is fascinating. Whatever way Jesus said to Bartholomew about seeing him Bartholomew knew that there was something very special about Jesus.
This shows the affect that Jesus and his way of speaking has on people. There must have been an element of call in the way that Jesus spoke on occasions. Jesus also recognised a real goodness in Bartholomew because he said of him, “There is an Israelite who is incapable of deceit,” or ‘in whom there is no guile,’ to give the older quotation.
The interaction between Jesus and Bartholomew reveals so much: Jesus sees to the heart, opens our eyes to who he is and then he calls us.
Bartholomew was ready for the calling....are we as ready today to be called?