Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle
Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel) might never have become a saint were it not for Philip. In the gospel for his feast today, upon first hearing of Jesus, he asks “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (Jn. 1:46) He was effectively insulting Jesus, calling Him a small-town rube. Just another person from the sticks who claims that He’s found religion. But Philip tells Bartholomew to go to Jesus and see for himself. Bartholomew not only likes what he sees, but falls in love with what he sees. He not only falls in love with what he sees, but he eventually dies for what he sees.
All of us have dismissed Jesus or tried to put Him in a box at some point or another. As a general rule, if following Jesus is a way of changing everyone around us but not ourselves, of transforming the whole world but not our own hearts, we have boxed Jesus in. Bartholomew dismissed Jesus at first, but was able to change thanks to Philip’s encouragement. Our friends are often the best ones to help us overcome the limitations of our thinking. We need to grow in how we think about Jesus, just as much as Bartholomew did. We need others to encourage us to grow in our Christian faith. And for that we need our friends.