St. Bartholomew, Apostle – apart from that title for today’s feast day, we know very little about him. This Gospel we just heard which references to “Nathaniel” it is believed by most scholars that this refers to the same person – that the other 3 Gospels use his familial name of Bartholomew, while St John is using a more familiar name of Nathaniel.
Just thinking about that though: here Nathaniel Bartholomew is one of the 12 and Gospel account that features him the most, what’s it about? It captures him initially dissing Jesus because of where He’s from (more precisely, his earthly hometown). “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” he asks his friend Philip… See – elitism, classism, racism – all those ism’s aren’t new or original or unique… (sin and evil never is new, original or unique to be honest)
The beauty of the Gospel is that, even with this really embarrassing moment captured for all eternity in scripture – what’s more important – that doesn’t discredit him. Cancel culture didn’t exist back then… or if it did – Jesus didn’t care about such nonsense. Jesus realized that the stupidity of man’s falling into sinfulness is something that afflicts every human being – (it’s why He’s here in the first place, to save all humanity from it) so that’s not a reason to exclude Nathaniel Bartholomew from his divine mission to be one of His apostles. Jesus sees past human weaknesses and is always seeing the potential within each and every person, calls them to holiness.
Which is not just true for Nathaniel Bartholomew – but for each and everyone of us. We often imagine “I’m not smart enough, I’m not holy enough – I’m not – whatever enough” – to share the good news – to be called into mission, to be called into a vocation to priesthood or religious life
St Bart’s bears witness to the important truth: Jesus, is not excluding us because of our human weaknesses. Neither should we.