HOMILY THEME: He was a good man and played his path in spreading the Good News.

BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf



READINGS: Acts 11: 21-26; 13: 1-3, Ps. 98, Matt. 10: 7-13

In celebrating the feast of St Barnabas we see someone who was tagged with goodness of life and called an apostle. He was not among the twelve chosen by Christ but qualified to be called a later apostle like St Paul because of the role he played in the spread of the kingdom that Christ inaugurated. He was born in the Island of Cyprus and was among one of the earliest converts to Christianity in Jerusalem. He was a companion of St Paul and went with him on the first missionary journey. He was a trusted delegate of the early Christians to the first council of Jerusalem. Barnabas was sent to Antioch to minister to believers in Christ Jesus. He saw God at work in the people and encouraged them to remain faithful. He was gifted with virtuous life of the Holy Spirit and was a man of great faith. The zeal for the spread of the word of God and in winning souls for Christ made him go to Tarsus to look for Saul and brought him to Antioch. His teaching converted the people to live in emulation of the teachings of Christ and that made onlookers and pagans derogatorily call them Christians. First they were called “The Way” (those who said they know the way and taught others the way). They resembled Christ in their life and testimony of acts that the people said that they look like that man called Christ- Christians. This was as a result of the hard work and teaching of Barnabas and Saul. His life qualified him to be called a prophet of his time. This was confirmed when during their worship, the Holy Spirit called them for a special mission saying: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” This call they hearkened to and went in its fulfilment and achieved greatness by winning souls.

Beloved, Barnabas allowed the grace of God to live in him, work in and with him and then perfected him. He achieved the special mission God called him; he distinguished himself from others and was singled out by God. He played his path well and was said to have gone back his native land Cyprus where he was martyred. He is today celebrated as an apostle and joined the company of martyrs. He is a challenge to us all and leaves a spiritual legacy for us to emulate. It is important to ask ourselves at this juncture what we do with the grace of God we have received and what path we play in the spread of the kingdom of God in our own time. We should be worried about the effect we make in the society and among the Christians.

Beloved, on this day we are faced with the demands for blessedness. He was among those who were blessed with the kingdom of God because he was poor in spirit. He suffered and mourned for the kingdom of God and today is comforted with blessedness of the kingdom of God. He was blessed because he hungered for righteousness and laboured for it and is today satisfied in the kingdom of God. Because he was a good man he was then pure of heart and was blessed with the privilege of seeing God. He made peace with his contemporaries and preached the message of peace and is called the son of God. He was not free from persecution for preaching the gospel and living out its values and so was blessed and today the kingdom of God is his. He suffered many things and remained undaunted even to die for it and today his reward is great in the kingdom of God. If he went through these like some other earlier Disciples of Christ, can we not learn from them and play our own path and gain same rewards?

We pray that we may realize that we all have a role and special one to play in the building of the kingdom of God and so realize the blessedness that comes with it. We ask that St Barnabas would intercede for us to emulate his virtues and benefit from the blessedness kept for us, Amen.

Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf

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