Healing, hope and promise are generously shared. Our only response in return is generous self-emptying and transformation. There is no other way to joy except through the cross and resurrection. Generous poverty or sacrifice lead us to joy and truth. There is no absence of light in darkness. The dawning sun will always rise. Wounds transform to gifts. God offers salvation and hope to all.
—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God
† Quote "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. O Jesus, my Jesus, with what great pain is my soul pierced when I see this fountain of life gushing forth with such sweetness and power for each soul, while at the same time I see souls withering away and drying up through their own fault. O Jesus, grant that the power of mercy embrace these souls." — St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 914 AN EXCERPT FROM Diary of St. Faustina
† VERSE OF THE DAY "But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer." Psalm 38:15
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(b. 1st century)
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.
Reflection 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.
Saint Bartholomew is the Patron Saint of: Plasterers
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."
Saint Bartholomew, Apostle (Feast)
You will see heaven opened. (John 1:51)
Under a fig tree. That's where Nathanael (Bartholomew) was when Jesus "saw" him (John 1:48). What was he doing there? Maybe eating lunch or thinking about his to-do list. Maybe daydreaming. Some have speculated that because it was traditional to study the Scriptures under a fig tree, Nathanael may have been meditating on God's promises. If so, it was the perfect prelude to meeting Jesus.
For centuries, God's promises had sustained Israel with words of comfort, guidance, and hope. A radiant bride, a city and temple shimmering with the glory of the Lord—images that pointed to a peaceful future when God would live among his people and make them a light to the rest of the world.
Nathanael must have drawn strength from reflecting on this life to come, even as he had to deal with Roman occupation. Perhaps this gave him eyes to recognize Jesus as the "Son of God" and "King of Israel" who would set things right (John 1:49). And Jesus replied, in essence: "Keep watching. Have faith. You haven't seen anything yet!"
That's what Jesus tells us too. Like Nathanael, we have beautiful promises of the life to come. We even know that this life has already begun. Baptized into Christ, we have been born of water and the Spirit; we have become children of God and citizens of heaven. Now, as St. Catherine of Siena said: "All the way to heaven is heaven."
Just as Nathanael sat under a fig tree contemplating God's promises, it's a good idea for all of us to set aside time for quiet, hopeful contemplation. We can try to imagine what heaven will be like. We can picture Jesus surrounded by the angels and saints. We can even think about our loved ones who have gone before us and imagine them with Jesus, praying for us, cheering us on, and rejoicing every time we act in faith.
Go and sit under your "fig tree" today, wherever that may be: an armchair, your prayer corner, or the adoration chapel. If you don't have one, find the place wherever prayer comes easiest. Lift your heart to the Lord and let his promises fill your mind. Then be still and listen for his voice.
"Jesus, you have thrown heaven wide open. Lord, let me see your glory!"
Revelation 21:9-14 Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18
my2cents: The Angel Spoke in Revelation: ""Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." So enamored has God been with His creation. His love, He makes her beautiful. What we see as dull, He sees as a beauty nobody else sees. What we miss, is what we miss for our souls. She gleams in beauty and strength, He loves her so much. What kind of God does this for His Son? It's more like, what Kind God does has done this! He takes from nothing and turns into something. Your nothingness He makes shine like the stars. Only God can do this. We, on the other hand, make something into nothing. We need to learn to be like Him. Out of nothing, there is hope. There is great faith. There is...love. And oh how He loves Love. Last night, the Bishop spoke at a dinner, and said that "we build things with...hope". We lay our foundations on faith.
Let us pray: "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." Ahh, friends. Are spouses friends? I hope so! LOL. Some say "I've married my best friend". Our Lord says today that His friends make His splendor known. They bless Him. They speak of Him. In a nutshell, they evangelize. But what an empty evangelization it would be, if it was not a proclamation about true love of what you proclaim?
In comes our Lord on Bartholomew, AKA, Nathaniel: "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." No duplicity. Sincerity. No two faces. What you see is what you get. He is not one person with one and another person with another. He is true...to God. Today we heard: "The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth." Nathaniel had prayed under a fig tree. God was near Him...the Truth, Jesus. Jesus saw Him. Nathaniel was amazed and said "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Later Peter would say "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Nathaniel already knew. Nathaniel was true. What about you? Do you pray in truth? Or not. Are you true? Or do you struggle in the truth? I witness faith of people. Some struggle so hard. It's just so hard to believe. They'll come to church. Nothing happens. They'll attempt prayer, nothing happens. They'll go to a retreat, and nothing. So...what's happening? Nothing! LOL. Remember though, God can make something from nothing, but we make something into nothing. So how can God make something happen in you? Let Him. Let not your doubts overwhelm your faith. Perhaps, let your ego, go. Perhaps, let the wind out of your sails trying to get there in an awful hurry, and let Him take you where He sees fit. Perhaps your idea of God must take a break. That's what one reflection said today, when Nathaniel said "can anything good come from Nazareth?" As if it were expected better things could come from better places than that. Have you made up your mind on how and who God is? Then, you got it all wrong. An atheist does this. But not Satan does this. Even demons would scream to Jesus "You are the Son of God!!!" Mt 3:11. But only a closed heart to God makes something into nothing. So nothing happens. But if we offer nothing, our nothingness, our emptiness....oh what marvels God can do! Think, humility, lowliness. I showed a suffering brother in Christ a video on suffering. The video said how suffering affords us an opportunity to be closer with God. But I don't believe the message took. It was not taken. Rather, suffering was rejected as a gift. Given back to God, "I don't want it, I hate it". Think, Jesus. Think the cross. Think, the crucifixion. Think, the lamb of God. Think, truth. We turned Him into nothing, discarded, as if we were gods. But to those who make something from nothing...His children, His Love, which He calls spouse, He becomes one with them. His marriage is true love. His is a sacred covenant. A glistening beauty. He makes His wife shine, when her chin goes down, He raises it with one finger saying, " look at Me ". Opening your eyes, He says this to make your heart swell and tears flow.... looking into His beautiful eyes with the most sincerest of truths: "I love you". And there's nothing that could ever take that away.
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