The Memorial of St Barnabas, the Apostle

The Memorial of St Barnabas, the Apostle


Acts 11:21-26.13:1-3, Mt. 5:33-37. Barnabas was one of the most amiable and life-promoting of the early Christians. Luke calls him “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” A trusted confidant of many, he shared much of his properties with the poor and helped the former persecutor, Saul to gain entry to the Christian community in Jerusalem. As portrayed in today's first reading, Barnabas had the sort of selfless, encouraging personality that made him a great ambassador for the Gospel. He was the perfect delegate to be sent by the Apostles to support the growing Church in Antioch. Fortunately, Barnabas did not want Paul’s great gifts to be wasted, knowing how precious they would be to the Christians in Antioch. So, he brought Paul to Antioch and integrated many Jewish and Gentile converts into the Christian community. Today’s memorial reminds us of the qualities in Barnabas which gave such a boost to the growth of the Church in his time. With pastors like him, our Church could have a great revival. When Barnabas was sent to Antioch by the Apostles to assess what was happening there, he immediately recognised it as the work of the Lord.

God is always at work in new and creative ways among us and it is a great gift to be able to recognise divine inspiration wherever it is to be found. If we recognise the divine inspiration, God will never be invoked as the guarantee of our honesty. In today's Gospel, Jesus objects to people who swear by God and things related to God. Our affirmations or negations should be simply stated and should be based on the fact that we are always speaking the truth and do not need God to be called upon only at times we really want others to accept our statements as being truthful and honest. We call on God to witness our sincerity, because we are not always sincere all the while. Lying on a single occasion will keep an honest person under suspicion of dishonesty always. When we speak the truth at all times, we would not need to prove our words with oath. What we say must be true, prudent, not rashly and must refer to something just and good. When there is no pressing need, our words should be sufficient, because we are being known as honourable who seek the truth and keep to our words always. For us to attain this level of principle, we must be truthful in little things, willing to take responsibility for our flaws and fulfil our commitments. We must be honest with God, others and ourselves.

May the Lord help us to build our cities on truth and respect for every human value! Amen!! Good morning and happy weekend!!!

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