August 24, 2022 –
St. Bartholomew, Apostle
“Come and see.”
When Philip points out Jesus as the promised Messiah, what does Nathaniel—also known as Bartholomew—say? We can almost see Nathaniel shrugging his shoulders as he says, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” In this one sentence, he insults both Jesus and Jesus’ hometown. Clearly, he does not have faith at this point.
But we see that Nathaniel is like Peter: a slow learner, but someone who, once he realizes what’s going on, is completely “in”. When Nathaniel hears Jesus call him, he realizes who Jesus is, and confesses this truth, declaring: “Teacher, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” So if any of us are slow to learn, we should remember that Jesus does not give up on us. Jesus will still call each of us to live out his vocation each day, and give him whatever is needed to carry it out.
Yet we should also note something else in this “vocation story”: that is, the role of Philip. When God calls a young man to be a priest, or a young woman to the consecrated life, He usually calls him or her through other people. We need not only to encourage vocations: we need also to encourage those “other people” like Philip to encourage vocations.
After all, Philip said just three words: “Come and see.” But if Philip had not said these three simple words, Nathaniel might never have met Jesus, and the Church would not have been built up by this holy apostle Bartholomew. Little words can do a lot for God’s great glory.