August 24, 2012
Feast of St. Bartholomew, apostle
Gospel: John 1: 45-51
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Included in God’s Work
Today’s feast is of an apostle, St. Bartholomew, a messenger from the Lord. What stands out in the Gospel reading, an almost imperceptible detail that is beside the point of the story, is this: Philip is the one who called Nathanael. Jesus himself acknowledges this: “Before Philip called you…” This is not to say that the Lord had nothing to do with that call – on the contrary, it was clearly a moment of grace. But Philip was the instrument, the more immediate figure calling Nathanael (whom we now refer to as “Bartholomew”) to come and see this Jesus from Nazareth.
In our own lives, we are given a share in the ministry of the apostles – by our baptism we are made priests, prophets, and kings – sharing in Jesus Christ’s own life. At times, we are asked to invite others to come to know Jesus, sometimes simply by our silent witness, other times by quite clear and inviting words. Philip’s joy at finding the one promised by God and attested to in the Scriptures overflows even into the skeptical heart of Nathanael. And it becomes clear that Jesus desired Nathanael’s presence, but the connection was made only by Philip. Thus, our own role – fully known only by God – is instrumental in God’s will being carried into effect. What a blessing it is, to be included by God in His own work!
—Mr. Timothy Kieras, SJ
Lord, I choose to live my day with great purpose. Whether all seems ordinary or all seems upside down, I believe you will use me to be a light to others. In those times when I feel unprepared or even unworthy to be your ambassador, I will remember that it is your grace that will move me forward for good. With this perspective, I am rejuvenated and better able to find meaning and joy in the details of the day. With this mindset I can expect more happiness and a deeper sense of gratitude for realizing my call from you.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!