Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the occasion of the Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle, one of the Holy Apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the companion of St. Paul the Apostle, another great Apostle and missionary of the faith. St. Barnabas has dedicated much of his life for the evangelisation of the people in all the communities and places that he has visited, both in his missionary journeys with St. Paul and in his own missionary works and other engagements. As we listened to more of his works and ministry, his dedication and commitment to God, we are reminded that we ourselves have been called to the same mission by the Lord as well.
St. Barnabas according to Apostolic traditions was a Jew who lived and hailed from Cyprus, one of the Jews living in the diaspora, who came to believe in Christ and became one of the earliest disciple and follower of Christ after His Resurrection, and who gave himself for the service of the Lord and His Church, in which he and St. Paul managed to convert many of the Gentiles during the course of his work, and his successes in Antioch and the region as mentioned in our first reading passage today led to him and St. Paul being sent to evangelise and minister to the faithful in many parts across the Mediterranean region. The Apostles prayed over them and sent them to the people in their mission areas to bring the truth of God to them.
St. Barnabas and St. Paul went through many things together, facing obstacles and challenges, having to endure persecutions and rejections just as they managed to gain a lot of success in some places as well. He helped to champion the cause of the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people who converted to the faith, that they should not need to obey and follow the entire extent of the Jewish customs and practices, contrary to what some among the Christian converts, especially from among the Pharisees, had pressured the Church to do. St. Barnabas also did many other things for the benefit of the faithful and the larger Christian community.
St. Barnabas continued to carry on the mission of evangelising to many people and establishing the Christian faith and its foothold in various places and communities. He continued to do his works even after he had parted ways with St. Paul and continued to evangelise to the people with the help of some other helpers, serving the Lord to the best of his ability. He helped many people to know God and to turn away from their sinful ways. St. Barnabas helped to establish many new Church communities and helped them all in remaining faithful to God. Eventually, he was also martyred for his faith in God.
In our Gospel reading today, we then heard of the words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples, as He sent them out, in pairs, two by two, to go before Him and to do the works that He had sent them to do. He told them to go from place to place, preaching the words of His truth and love, calling on everyone to turn back towards the Lord and to follow Him. He told them to do all the wonders and works which He would guide them all to do. He told them to live among the people they had been sent to, and God would provide for them wherever they were welcomed, accepted and successful.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us as Christians are also sharing in the same mission that God has entrusted to His disciples back then. The works and the mission of the Church are still far from being completed, and we have to realise that we are part of the works and efforts of the Church to continue this mission that the Lord still expects of us to complete. We have to active ministers of the Lord’s works and answer His call towards us, as He called us to be His missionaries, the witnesses of His light, truth and love, His hope and mercy in the midst of our respective communities, many of whom are still living in ignorance of God and His truth.
That is why, each and every one of us should be inspired by the examples set by St. Barnabas and the many other Apostles, disciples, all the saints and martyrs who had dedicated themselves and their lives to love and serve the Lord wholeheartedly. We are all called to live our lives to the fullest and to live them as faithful Christians, such that in our every words, actions and deeds, we will always bring glory to God and that everyone who hears us, sees us and witnesses our works, will come to know that we are truly God’s beloved people, and will come to know God and His truth through us and our lives, and not only just through our words but also through our actions as well.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore heed the Lord’s call and our mission, and be good and faithful Christians at all times. Let us follow in the footsteps of St. Barnabas and the many other saints of God, our holy predecessors, and let us seek to glorify God by our lives and by our every actions. May the Lord continue to guide us and to strengthen us in our resolve to follow Him and to serve Him at all times. May He empower each and every one of us and may He encourage us all with His power and Holy Spirit, that we may continue to be beacons of His light, truth and love at all times. May the Lord bless us all, now and always, forevermore. Amen.