“From today onwards, I am going to strive for the greatest purity of soul, that the rays of God's grace may be reflected in all their brilliance.” ~ Saint Faustina Kowalska
In today’s 1st Reading, taken as it is every year on this the Memorial of Saint Bartholomew https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Daily-Mass-Reflections-824 from the enigmatic and mysterious Book of Revelation (Rev 21:9-14), we are reminded of how vital the twelve Apostles were and continue to be in our lives and the Catholic Theodrama as Bishop Robert Barron so often calls our church’s salvation story. As John proceeds to describe the glorious holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, its radiance “like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal,” he goes on to point out that “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.”
Saint Bartholomew was indeed one of the twelve, called to the apostolate, as we read in today’s Gospel (John 1:45-51), by none other than our Lord Jesus himself. His innocence and simplicity of heart was celebrated by the very words of our Redeemer. Jesus immediately recognizes in Bartholomew a genuine sincerity, a man devoid of duplicity and guile. He refers to Bartholomew as a true child of Israel, suggesting a certain religious connotation. In Bartholomew, Jesus saw the true faithfulness of the people of Israel residing within him so to speak.
According to ancient tradition, Saint Bartholomew was said to have carried the gospel message through the most barbarous countries of the East, penetrating into some of the more remote regions of the Indies. He would then voyage through the northwest part of Asia and unto Lycaonia. His last evangelical mission was believed to have been to Great Armenia, where he would die a martyr’s death at the hands of craven idol worshippers. Modern Greek historians say that he was condemned by the governor of Albanopolis to be crucified. Others affirm that he was flayed alive, still others say he endured both punishments simultaneously, a fate that was often meted out in both Egypt and Persia at the time.
Those who are baptized in Christ are called to live a different kind of life. It’s only natural to want to know what this different kind of life looks like. The apostles show us. They never cared about what others thought of them. They only wanted others to know what they knew; to know who they knew. They pursued the narrow gate. They tossed aside the easy emotions of anger, revenge, idle chatter, and other forms of compulsiveness. When the teachings became difficult and required true faith, causing many to walk away, they stayed https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Dont-Leave. There were willing to forgo the “how” and instead remain focused on the “why.” As such, they knew that Jesus did everything he did out of love. The details were simply a matter of faith, relatively unimportant in fact.
“You will see greater things,” Jesus tells Bartholomew in the waning words of today’s Gospel. “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man,” a direct reference to his Crucifixion and Resurrection from the dead, which opened the very Gates of Heaven for all who believe in Jesus and the sanctifying grace that God pours out upon all who seek it.
Christian author Lailah Gifty Akita says “A man's pathway to heaven is the purity of his heart.” May we follow Saint Bartholomew’s pure path, accepting Jesus’ invitation in today’s Gospel to come and see that which he has in store for those who love him.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" ~ Matthew 5:8
Saint Bartholomew, pray and intercede for us.