Tuesday, June 11, 2013

St. Barnabas, son of encouragement: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 (Memorial of St. Barnabas)

           Towards the end of the school year a number of our students received letters from their pen pals from Ghana, Africa.  It was cool reading through the names of these students which were clearly Christian: Faith, Charity, Mary, Fidelis (Latin for faith) and even Patience.  In the Scriptures, names are significant—especially when they are changed.  Even today some cultures name their children for a virtue or quality they pray the child will grow into.
            St. Barnabas’ name was actually Joseph.  He received the name Barnabas—which means son of encouragement—after the apostles witnessed his encouragement, support and zeal among the early Christians.  After arriving in Antioch Barnabas “saw the grace of God…rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
            In our world today we need more encouragers like Barnabas.  Each of us appreciates being affirmed and loves a compliment, so why not give these out abundantly to others?  When we love someone, we must never tire of letting them know of our love.  So, too, we must be diligent about affirming our family, friends and coworkers.
            On this memorial of St. Barnabas may we also be sons and daughters of encouragement.

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