Of skin and saints and layers of faith

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday, Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle, 24 August 2022
Revelation 21:9-14   ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*>   John 1:45-51
Photo by author, Sacred Heart Spirituality Center, Novaliches, QC, 2018.
Everywhere we find
layers of everything:
layers of clothing,
layers of skin,
layers of meaning;
thank you, dear God
our Father in inviting me
today as we celebrate
the feast of St. Bartholomew
to examine the different
"layers" of my faith and
knowledge of you in
Jesus Christ.
First is the layer of my
self-knowledge:  how true
am I with myself?  How free
am I in being myself, in
expressing freely my thoughts
and feelings?

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.”

John 1:45-47
Dear Jesus,
grant me that kind of
sincerity and honesty
of Nathanael/St. Bartholomew:  
you were not disgusted with his words 
for they were very true;
most of all, you even praised
him for being a true Israelite
without any guile!
What a revelation of the true
layer of St. Bartholomew
bared for everyone to see
unlike us in many occasions when
we hide our identity in many layers
often not true, so unreal of who
we are; teach us to come and see
you in your deepest layer, Jesus,
so we may be at home too with
who we really are.

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

John 1:48-49
Grant me also the grace,
Lord  Jesus like Nathanael/
St. Bartholomew to perceive deeply
your true identity as "Son of God"
and "king of Israel"; two different layers
of your person that can only be perceived
by a deep faith, to see you who you really are,
the Son of God, and also the fulfillment
of our aspirations here in this life,
in this world as our Christ the King!
How interesting,
O God that St. Bartholomew
died a martyr after being skinned
alive and crucified upside down
like St. Peter; it must have
been his most glorious achievement
that after being skinned alive,
his persecutors must have seen
and realized too his faith was not that
skin-deep after all, that layers upon layers
of skin, they have found only you, Jesus
deeply ingrained in his very person.
Amen.
St. Bartholomew depicted by Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel holding in one hand a large knife said to have been used in skinning him alive with his own skin held by his other hand. Photo from Pinterest.

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