Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the feast of one of the Holy Apostles of Christ, who although he did not belong to the Twelve Apostles, the principal Apostles and disciples of our Lord, but nevertheless, his role in the propagation of our Faith and in the development of the early Church was very crucial indeed.
St. Barnabas the Apostle travelled extensively with St. Paul the Apostle, who was also not counted among the Twelve Apostles, and yet both of them indeed played a very crucial role in the early and developmental years of the Church. Through their work and preachings throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region, from Syria to Roman Asia and Ephesus, to Cyprus and to Roman Greece, Macedonia and beyond, they have laid the important foundations of the Church in those places.
In doing so, he and the other Apostles have done what the Lord Himself commanded them to do, which we heard as part of our Gospel passage today. The Gospel spoke about the Lord Jesus sending out His disciples to preach the Good News and the kingdom of God to the people, and to bring the message of salvation to them.
And they were also sent with the authority to cast out demons and evil spirits, and to heal the sick and minister to the poor and the outcasts of the society. God gave them the power and authority to do so, and giving them the gifts of His Holy Spirit to bless and guide them along the journey, inflaming their hearts with the courage and hope, as well as with strength to carry out the mission which has been entrusted to them. And they did carry the mission with full faith in God and devoted all their time and efforts for that purpose.
And what is that mission, brothers and sisters in Christ? Our Lord Jesus Himself mentioned that just before He departed and ascended in glory to heaven, as the last of His commands to His disciples. The goal of all the faithful is to declare and to preach the Good News and the salvation of God as shown through Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Lord of all, and to bring these to all mankind to the very ends of the earth.
And St. Barnabas had carried out that mission faithfully and with great courage. He met many difficulties, challenges and even harsh persecutions from the Jews and the pagans alike. And with St. Paul he persevered through all of them, even though he had been cursed, rejected, shouted against, had stone cast on him, and cast out of the cities and towns he has been working and preaching in.
The works and examples of St. Barnabas can indeed be an inspiration to all of us. And we all need to realise that the works that the Lord had laid out for His Apostles had not ended yet, and neither had the work been completed, as it is still ongoing and in progress. The Church may be completely different from how it was during the time of the Apostles, at the time when St. Barnabas still lived and walked on this world, but the core mission of the Church remains yet the same.
Now in our world today, in fact the need is even far greater for us to reach out to the world and to all the people whom we have been sent to by the Lord. There are many areas in this world, and many more people who are in need of our help. God has sent us all to bring His word to them, to reveal to them His truth and salvation. But there are yet many more people who have not heard of the Lord, or they have misunderstood His truth, or even rejected Him.
It is important therefore that we should understand how important is the role which we have as part of the Church of God. We have to know that the works of the Apostles that continue on to this very day is now our responsibility and ours to bear. If none of us are to take up the challenge, then who else will? Who else will be there to bring the word of God to the multitude of people who still live in denial and in the darkness?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we live our lives today, let us all realise that there is much that we can do in order to be part of this Church’s effort to bring the light of the world into this world and reveal the wholeness of His truth to mankind. Let us pour forth our effort and works in order to contribute to the evangelising mission of the Church, by starting with ourselves and in our communities, devoting ourselves and our time for the Lord.
May God bless us all and give us the strength and courage to carry out this mission. May we not be daunted by the challenges we are to face ahead of us if we continue on this path, just as St. Barnabas had persevered through those challenges, the rejection from the world and even threats and dangers to his life. Let us never back down from the mission God had entrusted to us, and may we always be forever faithful to Him, now and always. Amen.