Thursday, 24 August 2017 : Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast day of one of the Holy Apostles, one of the Twelve Apostles of our Lord, namely St. Bartholomew the Apostle, also known as Nathanael, which we heard in the Gospel today being called by God to follow Him and to be His Apostle. And therefore, as we celebrate the feast of one of our Lord’s principal disciple, let us all recall what the Apostles had done for the sake of the Church.

The Apostles were called from diverse backgrounds and origins. Some of them were fishermen, while others were tax collectors and sinners, even some were zealots or fighters and thieves. The Apostles were called by the Lord Jesus Who called all of them and made them to become the twelve principal members of His disciples, recalling the twelve sons and tribes of the people of Israel. And they were the ones through whom God made His works in this world evident and true.

The Apostles followed the Lord Jesus and helped Him in His ministry, going ahead of the Lord to establish His presence and to prepare the people and the community for His coming. They prepared the path for the Lord and therefore they are indeed considered the pillars of the Church of God, as the invaluable foundation and key personnel involved in the establishment of God’s Church in this world. If not for their hard work and sacrifices, there would not have been the Church as we know it today.

And after the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended into Heaven, for St. Bartholomew, as was for the other Apostles, he went to various countries and places to spread the words of the Gospel and introduce the Lord to all those who had not yet heard about His salvation. He went to India to preach the faith there and many souls were saved because of his works. And from India, he went on to evangelise in the kingdom of Armenia where he met his death in martyrdom.

It was told that he managed to convince many people to embrace the Christian faith, and in fact St. Bartholomew even managed to convert the king of Armenia by his teachings and efforts. It was then that St. Bartholomew met his martyrdom when the king’s brother led the enemies of the faith and took over the saints and put them to death. By his efforts he had established the foundations of the Church in many communities, and many had been saved.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how are all these things relevant to us? What is it that the Apostles like St. Bartholomew are able to show us? They showed us the strong devotion and commitment to the Lord, one that is often leading to the moments when they had to choose between safeguarding their own interests and serving God’s will. And they indeed chose to obey the Lord even though they knew that by doing so they had placed themselves at great risk.

All of us are called to walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, as because each of the Apostles have dedicated their whole lives to God. And all of us are the successors of the Apostles, the ones who have been passed the baton which we ought to take up in order to continue the good works of the Apostles. We are called to follow the examples of the Apostles in all that they have done, in their faith and dedication, and in everything they have given up for the sake of the Lord.

There are still a lot of work that the Church has to do, brothers and sisters in Christ. There are still plenty of opportunities in which we can contribute as members of the Church. There are still many out there who are still living in the darkness and in ignorance of God’s truth and ways. And it is by our efforts that the Church will be able to bring these brethren of ours that they will be able to find their way to the Lord and therefore together we will be worthy of Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today renew our commitment to the Lord through our actions, words and deeds. Let us rediscover that zeal which we ought to have for the Lord, that we will be able to devote ourselves in the giving of our time, our efforts and works for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of His people. Let us follow the footsteps of the Holy Apostles, St. Bartholomew and his fellow Apostles that we may advance the good cause of the Lord and bring ever more souls to the salvation in God.

St. Bartholomew, all the holy Apostles and saints of the Lord, all those who have lived worthily in God, pray for us all sinners, all of us who are still struggling daily in this world. May God be with us always and may He strengthen our faith in us, that we will always be close to Him, and may He bless us always. Amen.

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