The Gospel reading for the Feast of St. Bartholomew is John 1:43-51.

After His baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist and the recruiting of Peter, Andrew and John the Evangelist, Christ decides to walk (60 miles) from the Jordan River to His home region of Galilee. Along the way, Christ calls two more Apostles. Christ sees Philip and simply says, “Follow Me” and Philip follows. Quickly, Philip becomes convinced about Christ’s identity as the Messiah and finds and tells Nathanael (also called Bartholomew). Nathanael is skeptical, perhaps because Nazareth was a small “backwater” town and because the Messiah was not expected to come from Nazareth. Philip persists, saying “Come and see”, the exact phrase Christ used when He called Andrew and John the Evangelist.

As Nathanael approaches, Christ mysteriously knows Nathanael and his heart, saying that Nathanael is a true straight-shooting (no guile) Israelite; in this Christ confirms His call to Israel. Stunned, Nathanael wonders how Christ knows him. Christ’s simple, but supernatural vision of Nathanael under the fig tree convinces Nathanael; Christ utterance ties together multiple prophecies the “true Israelite” who knows the Old Testament would recognize (including that Nazareth shares the Hebrew root word neser, meaning branch from which the Messiah will spring). Now fully comprehending Christ’s identity due to both Christ’s supernatural vision and its prophetic meaning, the formerly skeptical Nathanael reveals that Christ is both the Son of God and King of Israel. A great consolation, Christ affirms Nathanael’s words and prophesizes he will see even greater miracles.

After witnessing Christ’s Ascension, tradition holds that St. Bartholomew/Nathanael preached the Gospel in India and later in Armenia where he was flayed alive and then crucified upside down. St. Bartholomew was venerated for centuries at the Monastery of St. Bartholomew (ruins are in present day Armenia) which was built on the location where he was martyred; St. Bartholomew’s relics are venerated in various locations in Europe.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ demonstrates supernatural insight into both Philip and Nathanael. Divine King, Christ deliberately recruits His core group of Apostles around whom He will build His Catholic Church. Divine Prophet, Christ inspires and uses the Scriptures to evangelize men and prophesizes about future events that come true.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Marvel at Christ’s deep insight into the hearts of men and His mysterious supernatural ability to “see” the unseen Bartholomew/Nathanael sitting under a fig tree.

2) St. Bartholomew/Nathanael is complemented by Christ as having the virtue of honesty (no guile). Review the Catechism’s summary teaching on the 8th Commandment (CCC 2504-2513) and pray for Christ to help you always speak the truth in charity.  St. Bartholomew, pray for us!

3) In the day-to-day battle of life, men can forget about the powerful champions Christ has given men in the Saints. Renew your understanding of the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and pray for Christ to help you to be strengthened by your patron Saint(s) (CCC 2165, 2156) and those Saints who can help you prevail over your life challenges.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently