One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

August 24, 2006

For the Feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, August 24

John 1:45-51
Revelation 21:9-14

In the Gospel today, we meet a man named Nathanael.
Later in the Gospel we again meet Nathanael in person with six of the apostles on a fishing boat when they see the Risen Lord on the shore.
“Nathanael”— or “Bartholomew”?
“Bartholomew” is not really a name.
It is the Hebrew title, bar Talmai, meaning “son of Talmai.”
Hebrew uses such a title as a kind of last name.
Comparing the given names of the disciples, we identify Nathanael as Nathanael Bartholomew, meaning Nathanael son of Talmai.
Today in the Gospel, St. Nathanael Bartholomew meets Christ for the first time, only to discover that Christ already knows him in a deep and mysterious way.
Astonished, Nathanael pays the highest of tributes to Christ by saying, “You are the Son of God.”
It is the mission of every apostle and every Christian to announce that Jesus is the Son of God who took flesh and was born a man.
There is more.
Today in the Gospel, the Lord goes on to tell Philip and Nathanael:
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven OPENED
and the ANGELS of God ASCENDING and DESCENDING on the Son of Man.

It is the mission of apostles and all Christians to announce that heaven is now open, and that Christ is the ladder or bridge that links heaven and earth.
Today we also see another bridge between heaven and earth.
In the Book of Revelation, an angel announces to us a vision of “the Woman who is the Bride of the Lamb.”
However, the woman we see is a strange one, for she is also the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
This holy city is built on top of the apostles as foundation stones.
This Jerusalem, this Holy City coming out of heaven from God, this Woman, this Bride of Christ the Lamb, this Mysterious Woman is the Church.
These Scriptural visions and our Christian faith declare that the Church stands at the side of Christ, as a bride at the side of her groom.
The Church together with Christ spans heaven and earth.
The Church is a bridge, an avenue of travel to heaven.
The Church is also a holy city, a place to dwell where heaven and earth are in communion— a communion having the twelve apostles as its foundation.
Every Sunday in the Creed we profess our faith that the Church is apostolic.
Upon the twelve apostles of Christ the Lamb we have been set down and cemented.
In the Church together with the apostles we are a bridge, an avenue of travel to heaven for ourselves and for others, but for our sins that block the way.
We are not perfect, and neither were the apostles in their own day.
Nonetheless, together with the apostles we have a mission from God to make up the Church that God wants as the bridge, the communion, the marriage between heaven and earth.
Together with the apostles, we know that heaven has opened in the person of Christ.
Together with the apostles, we know that Christ the Son of God, side by side with his Bride the Church, offers himself in sacrifice as the Lamb of God … for the glory of the heavenly Father, for our sake and our salvation.
Christ calls us to stand at his side, together with the apostles.
Christ has called us to join him in offering him and ourselves up for the glory of God and the good of the human race.
The glory of God and the good of the human race are the two mysterious treasures and the mission that Christ gave the apostles.
The glory of God and the good of the human race are the mysterious treasures and the mission that the apostles have handed down to us— to you and to me— in the sacraments.
That is what we celebrate and receive here and now in the Eucharist, the flesh and blood of Christ in whom heaven is open and married to the earth— for the glory of the Father and the good of the human race.
We have a treasure.
We have a mission.

That God Be Glorified in All


Blogger winston7000 said...

Beyond your lovely meditations for this special day, thank you for clarifying for me Nathanael-Bartholomew. It now makes perfect sense.

--John Hetman
Niles, IL

3:58 PM  

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