Saint Bartholomew, Apostle (Feast) year A

Rev. 21:9b-14      John 1:45-51

Theme: “Come and see”

Today the church celebrates the feast of St. Bartholomew, an Apostle of Jesus. Scholars refers to him as the Nathaniel from Cana that we see in the gospel reading of today. He was skinned and beheaded because of his convictions and faith in God. He did his missionary work in different parts of the world. The lives of our Ancestors in faith and the quality of their discipleship continues to challenge all of us as followers of Christ in our own time. They willingly gave everything, including their lives. In our world today, how many Christians will willingly give up their lives for the sake of their faith in God? It is a question that is worth reflecting on today, as we celebrate the feast of St. Bartholomew, who paid the supreme price with his blood.

We have a lot to learn from the gospel reading of today. The first thing I would like to talk about is the love of Philip for Bartholomew. He knew that there was something about Jesus that was special, and he gladly took his friend Nathaniel to Jesus. Jesus was a treasure he found and willingly introduced his friend to him, so that he will partake from the joy of meeting with Jesus. He did not hide this wonderful invitation he had from Nathaniel, rather he gladly shared it with him. He wanted both to partake of the goodness that emanates from Jesus. In our own time, because of one reason or the other, some of us would have hidden this priceless information from Nathaniel and continue to enjoy the goodness that emanates from Jesus alone. The action of Philip today is a challenge for all of us as children of God. Let us try to share the good things and opportunities that we have with other people, not keeping it to ourselves alone.

The assertion of Nathaniel, can anything good come from Nazareth? That is what prejudice can do to us sometimes. Without the proper information, we are already biased, and we hurriedly make conclusions that are faulty. Interestingly, sometimes God proves them wrong, just like in the case of Jesus in the gospel reading of today. Sometimes we make such conclusions about other people, nothing good can come from him or her, we forget that it is God that have the final say about what happens in the lives of everyone of us. Be mindful of this, and guide against such biases that can easily lead you astray. It is God that decides who he will use to accomplish any task that he wants, it is not in your hands. God works in mysterious ways in our lives.

Lastly, the way Jesus described Nathaniel says a lot about who he truly is. Behold an Israelite without guile. Can those who know you say the same thing about you?

Through the intercession of St. Bartholomew, may the good Lord bless his words in our hearts in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

St. Bartholomew Apostle (Feast), by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp