Feast of Saint Bartholomew, apostle
(Revelations 21: 9b-14; John 1:45-51)
We are accustomed to focusing on the apostles as individuals. Who has not heard of Peter’s foibles? What is one to make of the brashness of James and John? However, the apostles are better considered as a group. As today’s first reading makes clear, they make up the foundation of the Church.
The passage partly culminates the Book of Revelations. Evil has been vanquished. Now the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem, meet their champion and bridegroom, the Lamb of God. They are members of the Church formed by the teaching and self-offering of the apostles. They will flourish forever.
We are indebted to the apostles. The Lord sent them to our ancestors to preach and teach the faith. Jesus chose twelve of them to symbolize the new Israel, which was originally constituted of that many tribes. There are more apostles than twelve. The life and works of St. Paul make that clear. For the unsung apostles, then, as well as to the celebrated ones like Bartholomew we give God thanks today.