Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

Apocalypse 21:9-14; Psalm 144(145):10-13a,17-18; John 1:45-51

Given that today is the Feast of Bartholomew, it might seem surprising that the reading given, mentions Nathanael instead. Bartholemew is listed as one of the twelve apostles in all three of the synoptic gospels, and not at all in John's Gospel - where however Nathanael is mentioned. The prefix 'Bart' typically means 'son of' so Bartholomew might be the equivalent to our use of surnames, i.e. his father was named Tholomew or Tolmei.

Nathanael means 'Gift of God' or perhaps 'Giver of God' and when Jesus says that he had seen him 'under the fig tree' this would be a common Judaic reference to Nathanael studying the Torah.

The reporting of Nathanael saying 'You are the Son of God, the king of Israel' early in John's Gospel, places Nathanael as the first person to publicly state who Jesus was. (Note some caution is needed, as the order of events in biblical writings does not necessarily relate to their chronological order).

According to church tradition, Nathanael Bartholomew took a copy of Matthew's Gospel with him to North India, bringing the good news there, and he was martyred in Albania.

Posted in Daily Reflection.