Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Apostles Bartholomew and it might seem odd for us at first to be reading a story about Philip and Nathanael. But the reality is that Nathanael IS Bartholomew. Just as Peter was known as Simon Bar-Jonah, meaning ‘Son of Jonah’ it is believed that Bartholomew is actually a sir name and Nathanael would actually be Nathanael Bar-Tholomai. This is strengthened by the fact that Bartholomew is always coupled with Philip in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke. And in John’s gospel account, Nathanael is portrayed as the friend of Philip.
It is because of the friendship that the two of them had that Bartholomew was brought to have faith in Christ and it is this that the Church calls us to reflect upon today – our role in bringing others to know Christ. In the letter to the Romans, Saint Paul asks us: How are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? It was Philip who told Bartholomew about their having found the Messiah. And by inviting Bartholomew to come meet the Lord, Philip plays a vital role in Bartholomew’s own profession of faith in Christ and his subsequent following after the Lord. Bartholomew was counted among the twelve apostles and went out to Armenia and India, where he spread the faith to many thousands of souls and eventually won the martyrs’ crown and entered into his heavenly reward, all because of Philip’s initial invitation to meet the Lord.
As we hear on this gospel message, we give thanks for the Philips in our own lives who have invited us to know Christ more deeply. And mindful of the power of an invitation to know the Lord, we must ask ourselves two questions: Who does the Lord want me to invite to come to know Him deeper? And am I willing to extend the invitation?