August 24: Feast of St. Bartholomew

In the Scriptures, Bartholomew is identified with Nathanael, from Cana in Galilee. Bartholomew appears to be a family or surname, formulated with reference to the father’s name. It means “the son of Tolmay.“ In the lists of the apostles in the Gospels, Bartholomew is always placed between Philip and Matthew (Mt 10,3; Mk 3,18; Lk 6,14).

Again, traditionally, Bartholomew is identified with Nathanael: a name that means “God has given.” In light of the fact that he was from Cana (Jn 21,2), he may have witnessed the great “sign” made by Jesus in that place when the water was changed into wine (Jn 2,1-11).

Nathanael is prominent in John’s Gospel. In Jn 1,45 Philip meets him and tells him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law and the prophets, Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” “Come and see,” replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming He said of him, he said, “There is a true Israelite in whom there is no guile.” Jesus’ interesting quotation is from the penitential 31st Psalm. The full quotation of that verse would be: “O happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt.” Jesus accepted Nathaniel as pure, with no duplicity and Nathaniel accepted Jesus as the ‘Son of God,’ and ‘King of Israel.’

Let us pray. “Lord God, teach us to cherish, proclaim, and practice the Gospel message of Jesus, which Saint Bartholomew so eloquently preached and finally sealed with his heroic martyrdom. Refuse not, Lord, our humble petition, but unite it with that of Apostle Bartholomew and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, so that we may obtain the grace of true repentance, of divine assistance in our spiritual and temporal wants, and of constant fidelity to the way of your Son. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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