The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.
And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”
About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.)
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In third grade, I didn’t understand why the Church celebrated the feast of St. Barnabas. “Wasn’t he the guy who was supposed to be killed instead of Jesus?” I asked my friend David. “Why did we make him a Saint?
Thankfully David, more advanced in spelling, was able to clarify the source of my confusion: that was Barrabas, not Barnabas.
Our first reading makes clear why it is worth remembering the life of Barnabas, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” Barnabas came to be filled with the Spirit because he was first and foremost a man of prayer.
Can we say the same about ourselves? When we are faced with an important decision or meaningful conversation, do we call upon the Spirit to guide us or give us the words to say? Or do we prefer to rely solely on our own wisdom, experience, and strength?
We celebrate Barnabas not because of his extraordinary talent, intelligence, or success but because he was open to being moved by the Spirit. At the end of our lives, may people say the same about us.
—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.
When I am at a crossroads and require direction, Come, Holy Spirit.
When I am trying to find the right words to say, Come, Holy Spirit.
When a loved one is pushing my buttons, Come, Holy Spirit.
When I am stressed, tired, hungry, or sad, Come, Holy Spirit
When my heart is full of joy and gratitude, Come, Holy Spirit.
In all things, Lord, remind me to pause and to say, Come Holy Spirit.
—Dan Dixon, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!