Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of one of the Apostles of the Lord, namely St. Barnabas, the companion of the famed St. Paul the Apostle, during several of his missionary trips around the Eastern Mediterranean region. St. Barnabas accompanied St. Paul from cities to cities, preaching the Christian faith to the people in those places.
St. Barnabas and St. Paul were not among the Twelve Apostles, who were Christ’s chief confidants and followers. However, as an Apostle, St. Barnabas was a key component and part in the foundation of the early Christian Church. Together with St. Paul and the other Apostles, they worked tirelessly to establish the foundations of the Church and spread the faith to many places throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
We heard about their exploits in the first reading passage today, and if we continued reading the entire Acts of the Apostles and the letters that St. Paul wrote to the various communities of the faithful, we can see how the works of St. Barnabas and the Apostles were crucial in the establishment of the faith in numerous places, despite the hardships and challenges that they had to endure.
Without their hard work and perseverance, we would not have the Church as it is today, and many souls would have been lost to damnation, as without the truth being brought forth to the masses by these faithful servants of God, they would have remained in the darkness and ignorance, and remaining in the state of sin, they would have been lost.
However, as we should have realised, that with the hard work that the Apostles had given, also came great perseverance and suffering that they had to endure. The Lord Jesus commissioned His disciples to go forth in their assigned works in our Gospel passage today, and then, He even told them of what to expect in their work, that there would be those who would refuse to believe them, and would reject them.
To the Apostles, this would mean suffering and persecution, and just as St. Paul had experienced many times, they had to go through suffering in prison, and died a painful martyr’s death. Some were crucified on crosses, while others were beheaded, shot with arrows, or thrown to the lions and wild animals in the gladiator arena, and many more were tortured to death.
Yet, they remained true to their faith and refused to give it up to secure their own lives. They would rather suffer and perish in faith rather than to betray and abandon their Lord. Their example should be our inspiration on how we should live faithfully in accordance to God’s ways, and stand up for our faith in Him, as all true Christians should. We should no longer be lukewarm in our faith, and begin from now on, to practice our faith in our lives.
That is how we can also take part in the work of evangelisation that the Apostles had begun, as preaching by word alone is just one way of evangelising the faith to others. In fact, if we do not act in the same manner as we have preached and spoken, no one will believe in us. The Apostles lived as they have believed, and they practiced the love that they had been shown in their daily lives and interactions, caring for the need of one another, and loving God with all of their might.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the works of the Apostles, as I have mentioned, are not yet complete. There are still many areas in which the faith can reach out to many more souls who are still lost from the Lord. Even within our Church there are still many of those who have lost their faith, or become lukewarm and apathetic in the living of their faith. This is where we can play our part, to be examples and inspirations to each other in faith.
May the Lord be with us all, and may through the intercession of St. Barnabas, all of us will draw ever closer to God, and be more faithful in our respective lives, day after day. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.