Feast of Saint Bartholomew, apostle
(Revelation 21:9b-14; John 1:45-51)
Recent popes have encouraged Catholics to have a personal relationship with Jesus. No doubt, some are suspicious that developing a personal relationship with the Lord sounds like a very Protestant exercise. However, the Gospel of John shows Jesus initiating personal relationships in almost every chapter.
In today’s reading Jesus recognizes Nathanael, whom we believe to be the same Bartholomew because of his association with Philip. Jesus tells Nathanael that he saw him “under the fig tree.” It is not known what Nathanael was doing “under the fig tree,” but the remark does touch Nathanael’s heart. He immediately responds with the Messianic claim that Jesus is “the Son of God…the King of Israel.” How could Nathanael not follow Jesus now?
We might imagine Jesus saying to us, “Mary, I saw you shopping at Kohl’s,” or “Richard, I noticed you in the office today.” He is not spying on us, but calling us to join his band of disciples. It is a community of love in which we will know his peace.