Thursday, June 11, 2009

Barnabas: Apostle of Encouragement

Today's Readings

Our understanding of the very early years of the Church has been enriched by the life and dynamism of Sts. Paul and Barnabas. They stand as a rainbow of hope to the early Christians and to us today still. These two giants of their times are responsible for the strong foundation of our faith.

Barnabas is a model of stewardship. He was recognized for his generosity in helping the community. He also helped the apostles, financially supporting their evangelizing works. It was Barnabas who introduced Paul of Tarsus to many of the original apostles as they were beginning their missionary activities. Eventually the P and B Team, Paul and Barnabas, became well known for their preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ. In St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles, chapters 11 - 15, this dynamic team is mentioned fifteen times.

When Barnabas became "Barnabas," abandoning is birth name of Joseph, it was not surprise that the other apostles had dubbed him with the new name. He was indeed a "son of encouragement" to all he met and to all he helped.

Today there are many men and women who are suffering because of financial downturns. Could there be a better model for us than Barnabas for us to become a people of encouragement to those hurting so badly?" And, in a time when immorality and unethical practices challenge our young adults as well as our older folks, we can be a people of strength and support in these difficult moments. We can encourage them as well as ourselves "to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart." Today we can be men and women who can encourage so many who find their faith challenged by the experiences in their lives.

In your family, in your community, in your place of work -- are there not many opportunities for you to be a modern day Barnabas? Take a moment and look around!