August 24, 2020 (Feast of St Bartholomew)
Come to Jesus
Dear friends in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St Bartholomew. He was born at Cana and was introduced by Philip to Jesus. This encounter was a life changing experience for him as he became a disciple and eventually an apostle. He was believed to have preached in India and later in Armenia where he suffered martyrdom by being skinned alive, according to some Persian custom of the time. He is venerated as a Patron Saint of the sick. May we have courage in the moment of trial to remain firm in our faith. Amen.
Our first reading today(Revelation 21:9-14) is a vision in which the author was invited by an Angel, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." In John’s writings, the Lamb represents Jesus, who was described by the Baptist as, 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.' The bride of Christ, is the Church(Eph. 5:22ff). John saw in this vision, "the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God..." This city radiates the glory of God but also maintains the true foundation of Israel seen in the twelve tribes and the twelve gates and the twelve angels. But something new also--"the wall of the city had twelve foundations and on them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." This is clearly the image of the New Jerusalem—the Church founded on the Apostles. One of them is Bartholomew whose feast we celebrate today.
Our Gospel (John 1:45-51) reveals the call of this man called Nathaniel. He was introduced to Jesus by Philip who was already very much convinced after his encounter with Jesus, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph." Nathaniel was curious on hearing that he comes from Nazareth and asked if anything good could come from there. Philip however asked him to come and experience Jesus for himself and he was not disappointed. At that encounter with Jesus, he declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!" Jesus promised him he will see greater things, "Truly I say to you, you will see the heaven opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."
Just as John was invited by the Angel to see the glory of Jerusalem descending from heaven and Nathaniel invited by Philip to meet Christ, the Church is that place of refuge, where we are called to meet Christ and experience his mercy. He opens the door widely to those who are willing to experience his love and take advantage of the salvation he offers. What is your personal experience of Jesus?Come and experience him in his word; experience him in the sacraments; particularly the Holy Eucharist and Confession. He waits for you, come and see!
Let us pray: Strengthen in us o Lord the faith you have planted, so that we may be drawn closer to you daily, till we come to the joy of heaven. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.