Wednesday, April 28
Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 13:2)
Today’s first reading describes the beginning of St. Paul’s missionary journeys. For the next fifteen chapters of the Book of Acts, we will follow this heroic apostle all over Asia Minor and southern Europe as he preaches the gospel and establishes churches.
But what about St. Barnabas, his first partner in mission? Paul is such an outsized figure that he tends to overshadow Barnabas and that’s a shame. Because if it weren’t for Barnabas, we wouldn’t have a St. Paul. Barnabas’ real name was Joseph, but the first apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, which is Aramaic for “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). And that’s exactly what he was. He was always caring for the oppressed, the misunderstood, and the marginalized. He was always seeking to build them up and encourage them. For instance, he once sold a piece of land he owned and gave the money to the apostles to help them care for the poorer members of the new church (4:37).
Barnabas also stood up for Paul when the Jerusalem church questioned Paul’s conversion (Acts9:26-30). And when the church at Antioch began to grow, Barnabas traveled to Tarsus to find Paul. He succeeded in convincing Paul – who still had a bit of a bad reputation in Jerusalem – to come back to Antioch and become his helper (11:25-26).
Barnabas stood by his cousin John Mark after Paul refused to travel with him because John Mark had abandoned them on an earlier mission (Acts 13:13; 15:36-38). People’s pasts didn’t matter to Barnabas, only their futures. He didn’t focus on their deficits. Instead, he sought to help them discover how they could serve the Lord. What about you?
We all need encouragement. That’s because we can be so accustomed to thinking about where we fall short that we lose sight of God’s gifts to us and the fact that He is calling us to serve Him. Don’t fall into that trap! Let Barnabas’ witness encourage you. God has given you special gifts, and He wants you to use them to build up His Church. He may even have a special nickname for you!
“Father, help me recognize my gifts and use them for Your glory.”
Daily Reflections from “The Word Among Us”
Recorded music remains the property of the Artists/Writers.
No ownership is implied
Travis Cortell – sung by Choir Masters Association Chennai, India
Up From the Grave He Arose – Voice of Eden (India)
Torah Celebration Songs