Daily Gospel Reflection – Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
Bishop Robert Barron
August 24, 2023
Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
Gospel: Jn 1:45-51
Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth." But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this." And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in a conversation with Jesus in today’s Gospel, Nathaniel (usually identified with the Apostle Bartholomew) makes the earliest New Testament profession of faith in Christ’s divinity: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God.” Faith is the virtue upon which Christianity rests and is the capacity to see beyond the senses to a deeper or higher reality.
There is an anticipation of faith in Plato’s parable of the cave, in which a man escapes from a cavern where he had been forced to see only flickering shadows on the wall. When he emerges from the darkness, he is blinded by the intensity of the sunlight. When his eyes adjust, he surveys a new world of depth and color.
In a similar way, Christianity holds that God’s revelation draws us beyond what we can know and introduces us to a dimension of being vibrating at a higher pitch. To be a person of faith is to know that the universe of the senses is but the tip of the iceberg, a gateway. And it is to resist the idolatry of Enlightenment rationalism, which tells us that only superstition and obscurantism lie beyond what we human beings can measure.