The WORD in Other Words by Fr Xene Sanchez SVD (Congo, Africa)
Feast of the Apostle Bartholomew, Rv 21:9b–14, Jn 1:45–51
Philip told Nathanael that they had found THE ONE whom all the books, from Genesis till the last prophet talked about. The promised Savior had come! We need to know the Old Testament to understand deeper and know better Jesus‘ identity. Nathanael, after hearing Philip‘s words about Jesus, went to encounter him personally. Their conversation was a revelation of the rich titles attributed to Jesus.
Nathanael called Jesus “Rabbi” meaning Teacher; then the “Son of God,” acknowledging him as a Divine person; finally the “King of Israel,” the promised descendant of David. Nathanael was in fact professing his faith in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus’ reply was a further window to the spiritual journey of knowing him. He called himself the “Son of Man.” Again the Old Testament helps us to understand this title from the book of Daniel. It speaks of the Ancient of Days who gave to the Son of Man dominion, glory and the kingdom (Dn 7:14). This Kingdom is for all peoples of all nations. Jesus told Nathanael that he would see greater things. The sky would be opened and the angels would appear ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Jesus responded to the cry of Isaiah begging the Father to open the heavens and come down (Is 64:1). Henceforth heaven and earth were united.
Tradition tells us that Nathanael is called Bartholomew, whose feast we celebrate today. His story invites us to discover more treasures in the Old Testament which are forever new! The more we read it the more we get closer to Jesus, accompanying us till we encounter him personally.