MEMORIAL OF ST. BARNABAS, APOSTLE, JUNE 11, 2020
A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 11:21B-26;13:1-3
In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
REFLECTION: "It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians."
What an amazing city Antioch must have been!
We read in the passage about St. Barnabas going to this city and finding people open to listen to the word of God.
In addition with the teachers, preachers and saints mentioned in this passage, many others either passed through or lived there: St. Peter was a Bishop there. St. Paul preached with St. Barnabas. St. Ananias, one of the 72, baptized St. Paul. St. Luke, the city's physician, donated the land where the community met. St. Ignatius was the contemporary of St. Polycarp, St. Ephraim and St. John Chrysostom. And many more.
St. Barnabas is also a great saint. He was very close to St. Paul, and accompanied him in several missionary trips. He was also the one that introduced St. Paul to St. Peter, and helped calm people's suspicions about St. Paul's intentions after his conversion.
Friendships, even saintly friendships, go through rough spots.
At a certain point during their trips, St. Paul wanted to revisit the places they had evangelized. And St. Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark (the Evangelist) alongside.
St. Paul did not really want to because John Mark had in the past deserted them.
At this point St. Barnabas and St. Paul parted ways: St. Barnabas took John Mark to Cyprus, and St. Paul took Silas to Syria.
Later on Paul, Barnabas, and Mark reconciled.
Traditionally St Barnabas died a martyr.
St. Barnabas was fully dedicated to the Lord.
We read that "he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people were added to the Lord."
How do I bear witness to God? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to act through me to reach others?
St. Barnabas, pray for us to have strong and holy friendships that draw us closer to the Lord. Please help us not to fear, and to be disciples, apostles, and witnesses of truth!