Today we honor Bartholomew, one of Our Lord’s apostles. The name Bartholomew means Son of Ptolemy. His given name was Nathaniel, and he is called that in today’s Gospel.
Jesus left his home in Nazareth, and went to be baptized by John in the Jordan. The next day, when John pointed him out as the Lamb of God, two followers of John the Baptist, Andrew and John. Came up from the river; and they followed Jesus at a distance. When he turned, asking them what they were looking for, they asked him where he was staying. He told them to come, so they stayed with him that night.
The next day Andrew went and got his brother Simon, telling him they had found the Messiah. When Simon came to him, Jesus changed his name to Peter. The young men then rounded up their fellow fisherman Phillip, and he went to tell Nathaniel that they had found the Messiah.
Nathaniel, relaxing under a fig tree, had been praying, talking with God. When Phillip identified the Messiah as Jesus of Nazareth, Nathaniel asked, “Can any good come out of Nazareth?”
Still, he followed Phillip, and when Jesus saw him, he said, “Behold a true Israelite in whom there is no guile.”
Nathaniel asked Jesus how he knew him, and Jesus said, “I saw you under the fig tree before Phillip called you.”