Monday, August 24, 2015

A True Child

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Minute Meditations

Life's Not Fair
Mourning can be sharp and deep when we are teenagers: the loss of a first love, perhaps, or the disappointment of not being accepted by the college we want or not getting the summer job for which we know we are perfect. On the cusp of adulthood, we learn anew one of the hardest lessons from childhood: Life isn't always fair.
— from Blessed Are You

St. Bartholomew
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In the New Testament, Bartholomew is mentioned only in the lists of the apostles. Some scholars identify him with Nathanael, a man of Cana in Galilee who was summoned to Jesus by Philip. Jesus paid him a great compliment: "Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him" (John 1:47b). When Nathanael asked how Jesus knew him, Jesus said, "I saw you under the fig tree" (John 1:48b). Whatever amazing revelation this involved, it brought Nathanael to exclaim, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel" (John 1:49b). But Jesus countered with, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this" (John 1:50b).

Nathanael did see greater things. He was one of those to whom Jesus appeared on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias after his resurrection (see John 21:1-14). They had been fishing all night without success. In the morning, they saw someone standing on the shore though no one knew it was Jesus. He told them to cast their net again, and they made so great a catch that they could not haul the net in. Then John cried out to Peter, "It is the Lord."

When they brought the boat to shore, they found a fire burning, with some fish laid on it and some bread. Jesus asked them to bring some of the fish they had caught, and invited them to come and eat their meal. John relates that although they knew it was Jesus, none of the apostles presumed to inquire who he was. This, John notes, was the third time Jesus appeared to the apostles.


Bartholomew or Nathanael?  We are confronted again with the fact that we know almost nothing about most of the apostles. Yet the unknown ones were also foundation stones, the 12 pillars of the new Israel whose 12 tribes now encompass the whole earth. Their personalities were secondary (without thereby being demeaned) to their great office of bearing tradition from their firsthand experience, speaking in the name of Jesus, putting the Word made flesh into human words for the enlightenment of the world. Their holiness was not an introverted contemplation of their status before God. It was a gift that they had to share with others. The Good News was that all are called to the holiness of being Christ's members, by the gracious gift of God.

The simple fact is that humanity is totally meaningless unless God is its total concern. Then humanity, made holy with God's own holiness, becomes the most precious creation of God.


"Like Christ himself, the apostles were unceasingly bent upon bearing witness to the truth of God. They showed special courage in speaking 'the word of God with boldness' (Acts 4:31) before the people and their rulers. With a firm faith they held that the gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.... They followed the example of the gentleness and respectfulness of Christ" (Vatican II, Declaration on Religious Freedom, 11).


Daily Prayer - 2015-08-24


Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of Your presence


"I am free."
When I look at these words in writing
They seem to create in me a feeling of awe.
Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom.
Thank You, God.


My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to you,
I find peace and contentment.

The Word of God


Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

Reading 1 Rv 21:9b-14

The angel spoke to me, saying,
"Come here.
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R. (12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia Jn 1:49b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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."


Some thoughts on today's scripture

Philip does not waste time in arguing with Nathaniel. "Come and see," he says. Lord, I pray that I might lead others to you by the way I live my life.
  • Jesus saw in Nathaniel a quality that surprised and appealed to him. What quality in me might delight Jesus?


I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.
What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.


Catholic Meditations

Meditation: John 1:45-51

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Saint Bartholomew, Apostle (Feast)

Here is a true child of Israel. (John 1:47)

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in history. Art historians have analyzed it for generations. But most people don't want to study the painting—they just want to look at it. For da Vinci captured the uniqueness and beauty of his subject in a way that few artists ever have. You could say he painted the "real" Mona Lisa!

Notice how Jesus was also like an artist here. He saw Nathanael—also known as Bartholomew, the saint of today's feast—under a fig tree. But Jesus saw Nathanael not just as he looked from the outside: he saw into his heart. He understood that Nathanael was without "duplicity," a forthright man who didn't care about other people's opinions (John 1:47). He also saw Nathanael's future. He knew that Nathanael would become his disciple and would see the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. He would know Jesus not just as king, but as Savior and Lord as well.

God also sees us, just the way a careful viewer sees the Mona Lisa. He sees inside our hearts and knows our best qualities: whether we are sincere, like Nathanael, or compassionate or encouraging or filled with zeal to spread the gospel. Yes, he also sees those areas that need work, maybe our selfishness or our pride. But he sees these not as permanent flaws but as parts of his painting that still need some work. No matter what is there, he still considers us his masterwork, his pride and joy.

But be careful not to think of yourself as just a piece of canvas that God is painting on. You have the amazing privilege of working with him. You have a hand in the painting of this masterpiece as you cooperate with him. You can decide how it will turn out! Maybe you'll shine with the light of compassion for the needy. Maybe you will manifest deep faithfulness in trying situations. Maybe you'll exhibit the modest smile of a prayerful, peaceful spirit. So don't listen to any harsh, condemning voice! You are God's "good work," and he will continue to guide you until that work is done (Philippians 1:6).

"Lord, you are the potter—but I am much more than clay. Help me to love your people with all my heart, mind, and strength."


Revelation 21:9-14
Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18




The first Holy Scripture tells us that an Angel spoke and said "I will show you the wife of the Lamb".  The most intimate you can get on this earth with Jesus is in the Catholic Mass, where two bodies unite...the Lamb and the Wife.  This moment of intimacy is in the consumption of the Body of Christ where He enters like no other can enter, His Heart right next to yours.  And it is to give birth to a new Jerusalem, shining in splendor, where once it was known to kill all the prophets, it would give birth to the new.  If you visit the city, the material location of Jerusalem, you may be amazed and dismayed.  You may see the wonderful places Jesus walked, and even died, and you'll see a city divided, with the world's 3 major Religions, Jewish, Muslim and Christian.  The least, the most meager...the ones seemingly losing a foothold are the Christian.  And this is supposed to be the wife?  Jesus didn't make a Kingdom on earth, but one in Heaven.  He has the ultimate say in our world, but His Kingdom is not of this world, for this world can not contain the grandeur, the majesty, the light, the sheer awesomeness.  And to join, you have to join Christ.  You have to partake of what He is offering...a chance to pack your bags.  LOL, an older brother sent a text with an alien on it saying something like "I just heard aliens are coming in a few days to pick up all the old good looking folks...I am writing to say goodbye, I am starting to pack my stuff right now".   And so, we have to remember, we are pilgrims on a journey.  We should pack light, and packing the light is the most important on our journey.
The Psalms pray on "The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth." and remember "Your Friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom".  Want to be called a friend of Jesus?  Then be there for the moments people make it known, when they single you out in front of everyone, when you are alone and have to make a decision of the heart...a true friend.  If you want to be called a friend, then share the Kingdom that is at hand, that is coming, has come, and will be forever...and no better Kingdom will ever exist than that of ever being forever with our Heaven.  So, make it known, spread the Good News, His Word!  Or is Jesus your friend?  Or is He your King?  Or is He your Father?  As I gazed into the thunderous sky last night, I had just finished recording a song and it was as if the thunder was the Lord singing.  Thoughts went through my head "what if I was meeting God, and when I met Him, I saw Jesus?  What if I wanted to see Jesus and I encountered the Holy Spirit?"  These thoughts are important, because it soon becomes a contemplation prayer, just mesmerized, lost into the Lord...and the Lord can enter your mind.
Jesus comes into the Holy Gospel ""Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."  It's as if Jesus had read His heart, mind, and soul.  Perhaps Nathaniel was praying "Lord if you can see me under this fig tree I will...." and the Lord Jesus says He saw him under that tree.  And what does Nathaniel do?  He reveals the Good News to the world because we are reading it still to this day
"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."  Can you testify these words in your life?  Can you say "Lord you are the Son of God, the King"?  Can you make Him your King?  Can you subject yourself to Him?  And so the question is one of being true, or if there is duplicity in you, are there two of you instead of one?  One face here and another face over there?  Hypocrisy?  The song I wrote was based on a pinning from the homily our priest gave in Mass yesterday when he said that where he is from, Africa, there is a derrogatory remark of being called a "chameleon".  That person that changes colors as he goes with the flow of the world, over here it becomes one color in this environment, and another color in another environment.  The dancy song I wrote in spanish said the chameleon I knew disappeared in the night, where it would turn black in the dark.  In the daytime, dressed in light, and at night dressed in dark.  Duplicity best explained, and the sad story is that the song is based on a true story, of yours truly.  For most often, and every day, this guy here was a good ol' boy....and at night, a complete stranger, duplicity best explained of a life that truly doesn't sink in the body of Christ.  And so we live among chameleons, the song continues, "Those looking for joy".  It ends with the song saying "I am not changing colors (no cambio De Colores)".  I know God sees me".  No longer will I pretend to be invisible to God by changing my mind.  No longer will become invisible because this means not to exist...and we are talking about existing in Heaven with Him...

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