Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
Thursday, August 24, 2023
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for Thursday, 20th Week of Ordinary Time: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings LECTIONARY no. 629 (Rv 21: 9b-14; Ps 145: 10-11, 12-13, 17-18; Jn 1: 45-51)
The Responsorial (Psalm 145) describes Eucharist: “Your friends tell the glory of your kingship, Lord.”
What do we “see” at Mass? In John 1:45-51 Jesus told Nathanael (aka Bartholomew) “You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Jesus is “Jacob’s ladder,” the link between heaven and earth.
Jacob… dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord…. the land on which you lie I will give to you… and your offspring shall … spread abroad to the west and east and north and south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in your offspring. Know that I am with you….” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said… “How awesome is this place! This is the house of God, the gate of heaven.”[i]
At Mass we are in a “sacred space.” There is a “ladder” linking heaven and earth, present time and “end time.” It is Jesus. In him all separations are overcome. God has made known to us the mystery of his will… set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth:
Christ yesterday and today. the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him and all the ages. To him be glory and power through every age forever. Amen.[ii]
The Eucharistic Prayer builds up to the “Great Amen” acclaiming Jesus as the lens through which we see the Trinity’s glory: “Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” This leads us into the Rite of Communion and the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.”
This is the context of Revelation 21:9-14: “The angel said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and mighty thunderpeals, crying out, “Alleluia! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready…. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”[iii]
The “New Jerusalem” is the City of God. But its foundations are twelve human Apostles. The bishops are our historical “ladder” between them and us: And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
We may think the great mystery of Eucharist is that bread and wine become the body of Jesus Christ, who is God. But that sacramental fact just puts us into contact with the real mystery, which is that in Jesus God became human; and in him, by participating in his death and resurrection through Baptism, we become his human-divine body. The mystery of Eucharist is the Church: holy and historical: “apostolic.”
Initiative: Find the divine in the human. In yourself, the Church and others.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry