Go, Proclaim The Kingdom of God
St. Paul owed very much to this missionary, Barnabas. For he involved Paul in his work among the Christians of Antioch, who were of pagan origin. Acts called Barnabas “a prophet and teacher” and “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.” He was an open spirit, convinced that if one had faith it was enough to let one become eligible to be a Christian. Inspired by the Spirit, the leaders of the community of Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas on their missionary mission. And what a great history: from this mission the name Christians was given to followers of Christ.
1 Reading: Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3
In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he 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. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6
R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm. R.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. R.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. R.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD. R.
Alleluia: Matthew 28:19a, 20b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Go and teach all nations, says the Lord;
I am with you always, until the end of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 10:7-13
Jesus said to the Twelve: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.”
Luke tells us that Barnabas was “a good man, filled with Holy Spirit and faith.” Barnabas rejoiced in the many blessings received by the people of Antioch. Only a good man can so delight in the wellbeing and good fortune of the other. Barnabas was an apostle who realized that whatever grace one has received is a free gift from God and hence is to be freely shared for the benefit of all. Thus, when he saw similar gifts and fruits of the Spirit in others, his heart rejoiced.
What is received freely as gift must be given freely as a gift. The apostles, and we too through them, are reminded that the many blessings and graces we have received—whether it is the gift of prophesy or healing or teaching, et cetera—are given freely and gratuitously to them, and therefore, must be shared generously for the building up of the Kingdom and its members. Let us pray, through the intercession of Barnabas, for the grace to share our services and resources freely and to rejoice in the blessings of others. In Matthew 10:7-13 we read today Jesus clearly gives us the missionary and apostolic syllabus. How many have you checked?