Come and See

– Feast of Saint Bartholomew –

‘Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” ‘  [John 1:46]

This passage from John was chosen as the Gospel reading for today, the Feast of Saint Bartholomew, because Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, has traditionally been identified as the Nathanael who is introduced here to Jesus by Philip.

It is Nathanael who utters here the familiar “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” His comment about Nazareth may not have been one of contempt but rather an indication of the lack of any reference to Nazareth in prophecies about the Messiah that he would have known. His surprise when introduced to Jesus is evident. He expected so little and found so much.

Jesus’ immediate response on seeing Nathanael – “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” – is enough to convince Nathanael of the true identity of this Jesus, son of Joseph of Nazareth: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”  Jesus promises Nathaniel that he will see ‘even greater things’ – the redemption of humanity.

Philip’s invitation to Nathanael to “Come and See” has often been used as the title for resources, seminars and programs related to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the process by which adults are  initiated into the Catholic Church.  The RCIA is a journey of faith which allows participants to “come and see” what Catholics believe and do. Is there someone you know who might respond as Nathanael did to an invitation from you to “Come and See”? Give it a go!


by Elizabeth Harrington

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