Monday, June 11, 2018

Jun 11 - St Barnabas

+ St. Barnabas was (of course) a Jewish convert, coming to the faith soon after Pentecost, taking the name Barnabas (he was born in Cyprus and given the name Joseph). Though not one of the chosen Twelve Apostles, Barnabas is mentioned frequently in the Acts of the Apostles and is included among the prophets and doctors at Antioch and is considered an Apostle. We know him as the companion of St. Paul who introduced him to the Twelve.

Like Paul, Barnabas believed in the Church’s mission to the Gentiles, and worked with him in Cyprus and Asia, but split with him over a non-theological matter. He evangelized in Cyprus with St. Mark and founded the Church in Antioch. He was martyred in 61 at Salamis; and at the time of his death he was carrying a copy of the Gospel of St. Matthew that he had copied by hand. His name, Barnabas means, son of encouragement and consolation, because he was always cheerful and had a gentle and sunny disposition!

Our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles situates Barnabas at the Church in Antioch; it also describes how during a worship service the Holy Spirit instructed the congregation to set aside for him Saul and Barnabas for the work to which they have been called. After completing the prayer and fasting, the community laid their hands on them and sent them off!

The gospel passage gives us in outline form the traveling instructions for apostles: taking nothing with you, as the laborer is worth his keep, cure the sick, raise the dead and proclaim as present in the midst of the people the very Kingdom of heaven: use the offering of peace as the litmus test for reception: if the household or town accepts your greeting of peace, stay there and encourage them with truth and the gospel; if they refuse your peace and ridicule and insult you, leave them and take God’s blessing with you: at a later time they shall be held accountable at the very throne of God himself!

Of course, the object of all this evangelizing and peace making is to ensure that what the Lord had said would be true: “I am with you always, until the end of the world.” He is with us when brave disciples speak his word confidently and boldly and do what he did! LOVE! May we be brave and courageous disciples today!

The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

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