"A soul which does not practise the exercise of prayer is very like a paralyzed body which, though possessing feet and hands, makes no use of them." — St. Alphonsus Liguori
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Oh, what awesome mysteries take place during Mass! One day we will know what God is doing for us in each Mass, and what sort of gift He is preparing in it for us. Only His divine love could permit that such a gift be provided for us." — St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 914 AN EXCERPT FROM Diary of St. Faustina
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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).
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
▪ Nathanael seems cynical about Jesus at first. But then Jesus shows Nathanael that he knows him more profoundly than he could ever have imagined. He saw him under the fig tree. And the significance of this is only known to Nathanael. And as Peter so often does, he throws himself at the feet of Jesus professing the utmost faith in him.
▪ Has somebody ever really seen your personal life deeply and in a way that confirmed the best in you, while understanding the worst? Does such intimate knowledge by another build you up or threaten you? Could you allow Jesus to look at your life and your behaviour in all its forms, both good and bad?
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 1:45-51
Saint Bartholomew, Apostle (Feast)
Jesus saw Nathanael. (John 1:47)
Imagine you're not feeling well. You haven't been for several months. You've been to several doctors, but to no avail. Finally, you decide to go to a small-town doctor that no one has heard of. Feeling skeptical and expecting very little, you enter the office. Before the physician even shakes your hand, he starts naming your symptoms and their causes—even ones omitted in your medical history. Talk about being "seen" by a doctor! You'd probably start referring all your friends to him!
This might be how Nathanael felt after he met Jesus. Although skeptical at first, Nathanael—also known as Bartholomew—agrees to meet this rabbi from small-town Nazareth. How could anybody important come from there? But when Nathanael comes face-to-face with Jesus, he seems to undergo an instant attitude change. What happened?
With a few words, Jesus reveals to Nathanael that he knows him deeply, even though they have never met. Jesus' vision is so penetrating that it brings Nathanael to belief.
What did Jesus see? He saw Nathanael's faithfulness to prayer. "Under the fig tree" was traditionally a place for students of the Torah to sit and contemplate the Scriptures. So Jesus' comment communicated volumes: I see that you are earnestly seeking the heart of God. I see your devotion to God's will. Where others might have viewed Nathanael as a joker or a cynic, Jesus saw him as a true child of Israel.
Jesus' penetrating insight—his divine knowledge—is recorded many times in Scripture. Think of his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well or his healing of the Roman centurion's servant (John 4:16-19; Matthew 8:13). He sees your heart and your unspoken desires just as clearly! When you patiently seek God's will, Jesus sees you. When an unspoken prayer crosses your mind, Jesus hears it.
Jesus doesn't need to run tests to diagnose you. He understands you better than you understand yourself. Ask him today what he sees in your heart. You just might find yourself marveling as Nathanael did, "How do you know me? . . . You are the Son of God!" (John 1:48, 49).
"Jesus, it is marvelous to be known by you. Help me to see myself as you see me."
In the Book of Revelation we heard today ""Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." The new Jerusalem, the Holy Church is the bride. I read today from Ephesians "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her 26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, 27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." And Jesus is so in love with the wife, He died for her, and continues in Heavenly union...and the moment of closest intimacy is the Holy Eucharist in this Holy Union.
"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." There is good news in the world, there REALLY IS, and it is the truth, and the truth is the Lord, the lover of our Holy Faith, the Lover of Life, the Lover of justice, and this truth sets us free.
In comes the Lord of our lives ""Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." One could only suppose what Philip was thinking that made Him exclaim with all his heart and soul "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Standing under the sign of messianic peace, the fig tree, Philip knew the scriptures well, and knew of the Davidic King that was coming. And so when our Lord says what He said to Him it reminds one of the Holy Scripture that says in Jeremiah on the call to the prophet:
"The word of the LORD came to me: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." Before you even realized, Jesus was already there and in love with you. With a love that burns forever. With a love that asks you to love like that. With a love that says "I am yours and yours I wish to be" and the call then is to be one with the Father in holiness, free from sin, in thought, word, and deed. How easy is this holy thing? It's as easy as yearning and desiring. It's as easy as letting oneself be desired by Him. With words, a few may be convinced, but with life given...many times more. If it were easy to convert people, millions would be converted, but it is not. Only one person has done this since Jesus took over the world for Life, and it was our Blessed Mother Mary, converting millions of non-believers within a matter of days to believers of Christ. The people that were converted were "savages" and blood thirsty, wasting away, sacrificing themselves and killing themselves publicly on altars. Are there altars where people get killed in our society? Yes, just visit an abortion clinic. Millions and millions around the world are killed yearly. Blood thirsty? Well, yes, only if at any cost you are willing to save yourself. "Oh well, Mr. Adrian, that don't apply to me, I've never been involved with that". Really? Do you know that if you vote for the party that gives money to these efforts, you are voting to be involved directly? The Lord desires an unblemished wife, the Holy Church. He knows she is not perfect, but desires holiness. This way is to be holy...giving to God. I had a chills as I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries in the Rosary yesterday, as I reflected upon the lacerations the Lord endured for us, and the crowning of thorns. Where was the bride then? The chills came when a thought pervaded me, "if God is in every soul, He must've done this to Himself", to hurt oneself through others, who would do that? Ephesians continues after the bride verse "For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church". This is the way that He would nourish and cherish the Church...by serving Himself on a plate...forever for the good of your soul.
I am on my knees. I am begging for mercy. I am not worthy. Oh How You Love me. I want to love like You, Lord