Very little is known about St. Bartholomew. We are not even sure how he died. However, we are sure that his death was as heroic and as holy as the way he lived. His name is not mentioned in the Gospel today. What the Gospel refers to is Nathaniel. However, there is very strong evidence to prove that Nathaniel and Bartholomew are one and the same person.
What lesson can we pick up from the feast of an apostle like St. Bartholomew?
Number one: A calling, the work of an apostle, is, first and foremost, God’s initiative. It is God who takes the first step. It is not man responding. It is not like applying for a job where the applicant is either accepted or rejected. It is not the same for the work of an apostle. If we were to present our bio-data to be considered as apostles, all of us will fail because we have no credentials to prove that we can truly be disciples.
If we are Christians, if I am a priest, it is not because my bio-data is impressive or because our background is impressive, and we are baptized in the Catholic Church. It is only because God is so generous and takes the first step for all of us: He calls all of us.
That is the first thing. God initiates, God makes the first move.
The second point we should keep in mind is, once God has made the first move, once God has called us to become Christians, that call, according to St. Paul, is always irrevocable. God does not change His mind. If we become unfaithful in the course of following His call, God will not change his mind.
As human beings, we can marry, realize after some time that we have married the wrong person, then go our separate ways. But that cannot be the same with God. God decides to give us the dignity of being called His children. Whether we are faithful or not, God will still continue to call us. That is why they say whether we are Christians or not when we die and go to hell, we are still Christians. God will not change His mind if we live in sin
These are the two lessons: God initiating in spite of what we are, God’s choice never changing in spite of what we are.
Let us keep these lessons for ourselves. We, who are so fickle-minded. We, who are always afraid to make the first move because we are afraid to commit a mistake. Let us learn from God. God is willing to make a choice and when He makes a choice, He does not revoke it.
Only Jesus, Always Jesus