Monday, XXI Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Saint Bartholomew, Pray for Us

Readings: 1st: Apoc 21:9-14; Ps: 144; Gos: Jn 1:45-51

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today, the Monday of the Twenty first week of ordinary time. The Church celebrates the feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle.

In the gospel according to John, Bartholomew is known by the name Nathaniel. He was from Cana in Galilee.

He was a doctor in the Jewish law, and a dear friend of Philip the Apostle. Bartholomew was a man “in whom there was no guile,” because, he had an open heart, and was sincere to the truth.

He was one of the first disciples called by the Lord. Willingly, he went with Philip to see and recognize Christ as the Son of God.

After Pentecost, Bartholomew evangelized in Asia Minor. That is, in today’s northwestern India. Later, while preaching to pagans in Armenia, he was arrested and condemned to death.

There are two important virtues and characteristics of Bartholomew that we must learn and emulate today: Sincerity and openness.

Unfortunately, these are the first causalities as we advance in age and culture. Even among pious Christians, at times we come across secret agendas, ambitions and ulterior motives.

Initially, Bartholomew doubted: “Can anything good come from Nazareth? He asked. However, after a divine encounter he sincerely beleived in Christ and excalaimed: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

An open and sincere heart is one that is open to evidence. It is humble, ready to learn and to overcome difficulties in life. It is one that works and walks with God to achieve great things in life.

Seeing the sincerity and faith of Bartholomew Christ made a promise 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.”

The good news for us today is that, this promise is not limited to Nathaniel alone, but to all those who maintain purity, sincerity and openness of heart.

So, we all have the opportunity to share in this this promise, if only we can emulate the sincerity and openness of Bartholomew as we grow and advance in life.

Saint Bartholomew, Pray for Us

Peace be with you.

Maranatha!

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