YEAR A: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 10TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: BARNABAS AND THE REST OF US.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: Acts 11:21-26, 13:1-3
Psalm 98 & Matthew 10:7-13
“So Barnabas 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 company of people, and in Antioch, the disciples were for the first time called Christians.” (Acts 11:25-26)
Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. Barnabas. Although he was not one of the twelve chosen by Jesus, Barnabas is regarded as an Apostle largely due to his immense contribution to the Faith at the beginning of Christianity. We know that Barnabas was a Jew, born in Cyprus. He was a very wealthy man who in later life, saw the emptiness of his riches. He became converted to the Christian Faith and donated a large piece of land to the Apostles where the first Christians camped and live a community life of sharing.
Barnabas is one of those generous Christians who gave all he had to the common purse and inspired others as well to give such that as Luke reports “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.” (Acts 4:34-35)
The name Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement.” He was truly a man of encouragement. In our first reading, we read of how Barnabas was sent to Antioch where he exhorted the Christians to remain faithful. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit. It was Barnabas who went to Tarsus to look for Saul upon hearing of his miraculous conversion. Barnabas gladly received Paul as a brother instantly forgetting and forgiving his past as a persecutor, and went ahead to introduce him to the company of the other Apostles. Being a convert himself, Barnabas understood Paul better than the other Apostles who were reluctant to receive Paul initially. Indeed, we all have something to learn from converts.
The life of Barnabas is truly an encouragement to us today as we live in a world where ministers find it very difficult to work with each other. Barnabas teaches us the importance of team spirit. As we read, while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Paul for the work to which I have called them.”
Tradition records that Barnabas preached in Alexandria and Rome; that he founded the Cypriote Church and that he was stoned to death at Salamis about the year 61. Barnabas ended up suffering persecution for the faith. His life was crowned with that last beatitude: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:10-12).
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus admonishes us to “preach as we go”. This means, there should be no specific time for preaching but that preaching should flow naturally from our daily activities. We should preach as we work, preach as we move, preach with our very lives. Jesus even orders us to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast out demons but we must be careful not to monetize the exercise of this spiritual power. “You received without paying, give without pay.”
If you discover you have the gift of healing the sick and even raising the dead, what would be your next line of action? Would you exercise this gift quietly or would you rather open a church and call it a miracle centre? I mean, would you exercise your gift freely or would you turn it into a business? It is sad that today, some Christians demand money just to pray for their fellow Christians and some so-called ministers even go as far as charging consultation fee just to listen to their flock. Aren’t we going against what Jesus commanded?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to live by the beatitudes; to be a source of encouragement to others like Barnabas. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle. Bible Study: Acts 11:21-26, 13:1-3 Psalm 98 & Matthew 10:7-13).