Friday, August 24, 2007

the 500 Hats of Batholomew Apostle

Not much is known about the Apostle Batholomew, whose feast day it is today. He was called under the name Nathaniel and brought to Jesus by Philip, as recorded in the gospel of John chapter 1. Beyond that, not much is known about him except that he went as a missionary to India and there died a martyr's death.

Whenever we celebrate an apostle's feast I think of Paul's description of his apostolic life, which forms part of the Office of Readings propers for apostolic feasts. I always marvel at how varied Paul's life was, and how he was led (forced?) by his position to become all things to all people. Out of pastoral concern, he wanted to lead as many people as he could to Christ. A true Shepherd and spiritual Father.

1 Corinthians 4:9-16

For as I see it, God has exhibited us apostles as the last of all, like people sentenced to death, since we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and human beings alike. 10 We are fools on Christ's account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless 12 And we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world's rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment. 14 I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me.

As it was with Paul, so it is with the successors of these apostles. Our bishops (at least the ones I have seen close up) are men who labor night and day to make sure that all the people under their care can have the opportunity to understand and accept the love that God has for them.

As with Paul, it makes for a hard life. These men who don the mitres wear so very many hats.


With all of these various hats to wear, they need our prayers. In honor of St Bartholomew and all the apostles, pray for your bishop(s) today.

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