21st Sunday in
Ordinary Time – C
My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial or a Feast and a full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on Saint Bartholomew, Apostle, whose Feast Day is August 24. If his image [left] makes your skin crawl, it should … for he was flayed alive before being beheaded! In art he is depicted as a man sans skin, holding a flaying knife and his skin
and – as he does in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’s ‘Last Judgment’ fresco; he is the patron of tanners and butchers. [Who says the Church has no sense of humor!]
Bartholomew took a copy of Saint Matthew’s Gospel wherever he went, so he is depicted holding a book. He is listed as the 6th
Apostle in the Gospels, and 7th
in the Acts of the Apostles; he came from Cana, and was also known by his Greek name, Nathanael. Other Apostles with a Hebrew and a Greek name were: Simon/Peter, Saul/Paul; and Levi/Matthew.
Collect – Bartholomew, Apostle
Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which
the blessed Apostle Bartholomew
clung wholeheartedly to your Son,
and grant that through the help of his prayers
your Church may become for all the nations
the sacrament of salvation.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
“TEACH ALL NATIONS.” Saint Bartholomew fulfilled the Risen Lord’s command to “Go and teach all nations” [Matthew 28:19] by bringing the Good News, according to tradition, to India, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. However, he seemed reluctant, as we often are, of answering the Lord’s call, for Bartholomew/Nathanael
was not overly impressed with Jesus when they first met. In fact, he seemed quite dismissive: “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.'” [John 1:45-46]
However, our Lord praised Bartholomew’s honesty and bluntness: “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.'” [1:47]
If we leveled with the Lord, and were upfront and truthful about our own doubts and concerns, Jesus might say to us what he said to Bartholomew: “you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” [1:51]
and make us His witnesses and teachers to all the nations!
Prayer over the Offerings – Bartholomew, Apostle
As we celebrate anew the feast day
of Saint Bartholomew, O Lord, we pray
that we may obtain your help through the intercession of the Apostle, in whose honor
we bring you this sacrifice of praise.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SACRIFICE OF PRAISE. When we read the lives of the Saints, or current reports of the dangers facing Christians who risk their life in some parts of the world just to worship, one wonders if we even know what making a ‘sacrifice of praise’
means! Even in parts of our own country, the holy Mass is not offered locally ‘on the hour every hour’ … it is a special, rare event for which people travel for many hours and many miles. May we never take for granted what some pay for with their life: weekly Mass!
Prayer after Communion – Bartholomew, Apostle
As we celebrate the feast day of the
blessed Apostle Bartholomew, we have received the pledge of eternal salvation, O Lord,
and we pray that it may be of help to us,
both now and for the life to come.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
ARE WE ONBOARD WITH JESUS?
The only time the Bible mentions Bartholomew or Nathanael, besides when he is listed with the other Apostles or in his above-mentioned call to ministry, is when the Risen Lord appeared on the Sea of Tiberius shore. “Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other of his disciples.” [John 21:2] All who hope to one day see the Risen Lord should also be onboard … in His Church … as often as possible! Saint Bartholomew, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS