Today is the feast of St. Bartholomew (AKA Nathanael) who was one of the twelve chosen by Jesus to be his special disciples. Nathanael (or Bartholomew) is linked with the disciple Philip. In fact, Nathanael-Bartholomew is the first person Philip approaches after he is called by Jesus and he tells his friend that he’s found the one they’d been waiting for: Jesus of Nazareth.
Unmoved, Nathanael wonders aloud, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” But Philip simply invites him to “come and see” – the very words that Jesus himself had used earlier when he called two others to be His disciple. They too showed the same kind of reluctance in following Jesus as Bartholomew does.
When He approaches Nathanael-Bartholomew Jesus recognizes a true Israelite: “there is no duplicity in him.” What a wonderful thing to be able to say about anyone – no duplicity. We all know people like this and they touch our lives wonderfully. A good friend of mine, a mother of a large family, has the gift of making people feel good about themselves just by being around her. My friend Colleen (like Bartholomew) has no “duplicity”, and what a blessing that is for me and so many others that she interacts with.
Can we accept the invitation to simply come and see how Jesus is in our lives? Can we be open to the Bartholomews and the Colleens who touch us so simply and yet so profoundly? I love it that Philip spread the good news of his calling to his friend Bartholomew. That’s the way it is supposed to be in the Christian community - one person’s redemption becomes the salvation of others.
My challenge, then, is first to receive the good news of the ongoing presence of Jesus in my life and then to share that good news with others I meet.
Lord God, thank you for those people who bring me your Son, Jesus, in simple and beautiful ways. Help me to be like them: an instrument of your grace for those I meet today.
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