The saint whose feast is celebrated today is known only as one mentioned in the list of the original twelve apostles; nothing else is known about him. The Franciscan media commentary says that we are confronted with the fact that we know almost nothing about most of the apostles. Bartholomew certainly fits that description. There’s even a question if Bartholomew is the man who was also known as Nathaniel, a man from Cana in Galilee who was summoned to Jesus by Philip. As Franciscan Father Don Miller points out, however, the unknown ones were also pillars of the new Israel whose 12 tribes now encompass the whole earth…bearing tradition from their firsthand experience by sharing the “good news” of Jesus throughout the known world.
I think about these men – and, I dare say, women – whose entire lives were changed by their encounters with Jesus. They were not famous before they met him, nor after for the most part. They were just people on fire because of what they heard that touched their hearts who were compelled to share what they had come to trust as directive for their lives.
Has anyone influenced you in such a way that you are led to deeper, fuller experiences of life? Have you been that person for anyone else? Is it possible that you aren’t aware of your effect for good on someone’s life? Perhaps today is a day to dust off our best attributes and let them shine on all the people we encounter. We owe it to God for giving us such gifts to use them for the good of others, whether anyone remembers our name or not. Knowing the possibility of such influence ought to be enough to convince us that laziness isn’t an option. In whatever circumstances we live through this day, let’s get out there and shine!