Thursday, August 24, 2017

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, apostle

(Revelation 21:9b-14; John 1:45-51)

One of our parish priests used to visit our classrooms shortly before the end of the school year.  He wanted us students to become a “Friend of Christ" by attending the 8:30 mass on Thursday mornings.  It was a small way to initiate a more personal relationship with Jesus. The effort is hardly one-sided.  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 which should give all participants never ending joy.