24 August, Wednesday — More than meets the eye

Aug 24 – Feast of St. Bartholomew, apostle

Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was probably a close friend of St. Philip, as his name is always mentioned in the gospels in connection with Philip, and it was Philip who brought Bartholomew to Jesus. He may have written a gospel, now lost, as it is mentioned in other writings of the time.

Someone preached in Asia Minor, Ethiopia, India, and Armenia and left behind assorted writings. Local tradition says it was Bartholomew.

  • Patron Saint Index

Apo 21:9-14
Jn 1:45-51

You will see greater things than that.”

I believe that I am quite an observant person. I am constantly scanning my surroundings, looking at people’s behaviours in public, checking out that car in that garish pink hue and especially looking at what kinds of shoes people wear. I wouldn’t go so far as calling myself “kaypoh” (Singlish for being a busybody) though. When I was in school, I could recognise who was coming up to me just by the shoes that he/she wore. My relatives also told me that when I was a young boy, I had a fascination for cars and could identify a particular car’s brand just by looking at the tyres.

While observing people’s behaviour, I cannot help but notice their sometimes selfish or inconsiderate actions. Whether it is not giving up a seat to an elderly person on the public transport, or the car that speeds up just has you want to move into his lane, or the indiscriminate littering. Unfortunately, these actions seem to be happening more and more often. Just the other day, a car ‘stole’ a parking lot and stopped traffic on a one way street for more than 20 minutes. Not sure if it is one of the unwanted side effects of the pandemic, or that we find it so hard to follow our Lord’s commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” – Jn 13:34.

We are all fallen creatures, prone to selfishness and sin, so how can we love another as Jesus loves us? It is impossible! But I think that if we focus on Jesus and put Him in the centre of all we do, it will make loving others that much easier. I believe that with Jesus’ love in our hearts, we can love each other more and be more considerate and less selfish towards our neighbours, as we want the best for them. Just like we would always be kinder and more considerate towards our family and friends than to total strangers. So, with the love of Jesus in our hearts, we are then able to see through the eyes of Jesus, and love our neighbours as ourselves.

As with St Bartholemew, whose feast we celebrate today, he initially disregarded Jesus by saying nothing good can come from Nazareth. He was merely looking through his own eyes and with his own perspective, but Philip persisted and told him to “Come and See”.  And he did. That started a journey for St Bartholemew to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, follow Him, and become an apostle.

Once we acknowledge Jesus as Lord, our eyes will be opened, our trust in Him can be deepened and we can be open to whatever sights or adventures that we will experience on our journey, wherever it may lead us; just as it led St Bartholemew to proclaim Jesus as Lord, in faraway India and Armenia.

As it happens, I will start a journey today in Chamonix, where a 56km trail race awaits me. I pray that Jesus will be with me every step of the way as I behold the sights and be awed by the majesty of our Father’s creations. To trust that this journey of mine will lead to a closer walk with Jesus and to share this experience with my community once I am back home. And, it is also by God’s grace, that the week after I return, I will also be embarking on another adventure.

It’s an adventure that I think The Lord has set in motion since 1989. I hope that He will let me see with His eyes and the plans that He has laid down. And the courage to accept His will and to use my gifts for Him in building the kingdom of God. Brothers and sisters, I ask for your prayers to humbly accept His will and to do His work. Thank you.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full, in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace” – Lauren Daigle, singer.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Calvin Wee)

Prayer: Lord, You are our God and we love You. Grant us an open heart and mind to always be able to walk with you. Let us see with your eyes. Let us love with Your heart. Grant us the humility and faith to accept your will in all that we do. Amen.

Thanksgiving: As we begin our own journeys, Lord, we give thanks for the experiences and future that You have planned for us. Keep us always on your path and let us trust that You are with us every step of the way. Amen.

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