Today we celebrate the feast of St. Barnabas. There are two optional Gospel readings for today. The reading for the feast day is from Matthew 10 where Jesus sends out the Twelve and gives them their marching orders. The other reading for Saturday in the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time from Matthew 5, where Jesus teaches about swearing oaths.
The first reading today is from Acts 11 and 13, where we see more about Barnabas. The Scripture tells us that Barnabas was “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.” Barnabas was a traveling companion of St. Paul, and was one of the go-to guys of the Apostles. He was present at the Council of Jerusalem. He played a very special role in the early Church. In the first reading we read that “the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ ”
I’m a big fan of Barnabas. He was something that I always strive to be: an encourager. In fact, his given name wasn’t even Barnabas. In Acts 4:36 we read, “Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement:), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth…” Joseph was such an encourager that the apostles gave him a new name – Son of Encouragement! In my book, Magnetic Christianity, I list the final attribute of the Magnetic Christian as Encouragement. We need to be encouraging others, building them up. So today, in honor of St. Barnabas, look for the good in others, and encourage them to keep the faith! St. Barnabas, pray for us!
Father, we ask that you give us a spirit of encouragement, as you did for St. Barnabas. Help us to lift others up and encourage them in the faith. Amen.
Encouragement is one of the attributes of a Magnetic Christian. Read about all of them in Magnetic Christianity, available at www.GusLloyd.com.
Also, one can only wonder how Paul’s ministry might have been impacted had Barnabas not testified to his conversion. I have wondered (a) what Barnabas must have seen in Paul/Saul to advocate for him, and (b) the faith and courage Barnabas had to sponsor Paul (given his track record.)