June 11, 2016

Barnabas

June 11, 2016:  St. Barnabas, Apostle

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Legend at bottom
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Pope Francis
St. Mary Magdalene upgrade:  I'm raising the celebration of St. Mary Magdalene to a liturgical Feast.  We should reflect more deeply on women's dignity, the New Evangelization, and Divine Mercy.  Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the Resurrection, the one who announced it to the Apostles.  She's an example of true and authentic evangelization, an evangelist who announces the joyful Easter message.  I made this decision in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to signify the importance of this woman who showed a great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ.  Thomas Aquinas called her the "Apostle of the Apostles" (Apostolorum Apostola), since she announced the Resurrection to them, and they in turn announced it to the world; so it's right that we celebrate her at the same level we celebrate the apostles.  Mary Magdalene is an example and model for every woman in the Church.
To Vatican Observatory course participants:  Diversity can greatly enrich scientific research.  The Vatican Observatory was established to confirm the Church’s support for “science, human or divine.”  The Observatory has employed new scientific instruments as well as dialogue and cooperation with other research centers.  People of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds want to understand the universe, God’s creation, and our place in it.  We all dwell under the same sky and are moved by the beauty of the cosmos reflected in the study of heavenly bodies and substances.  We're united by the desire to discover the truth about the universe, and in this we draw closer to the Creator.
It's timely and providential that this summer's course is about water in the solar system and elsewhere.  We all know how essential water is:  for life, for people, for our work.  Water fascinates us by its power and simplicity.  The great civilizations originated beside rivers, and access to pure water continues to be an justice issue.
Scientific research demands great commitment.  Though it can be tiresome, it can and should be a source of joy.  May you cultivate that joy, allow it to inspire your work, and share it widely.  May you find joy in your research and humbly share the fruit of your studies.
Read
  • Acts 11:21b-26; 12:1-3  A great number turned to the Lord.  News reached Jerusalem, and they sent Spirit- and faith-filled Barnabas, who saw God's grace, rejoiced, and encouraged them to be faithful; more were added to the Lord.  He brought Saul back to Antioch; for a year they met with the Church and taught many.  The Spirit said, “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work I've called them to....”
  • Ps 98:1-6  "The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power,"  done wondrous deeds, won victory, made his justice known, and remembered his kindness and faithfulness.  Sing joyful praise to the Lord with harp, trumpets, and horn!
  • Mt 5:33-37  “You've heard:  Don't take a false oath, but keep your vow to the Lord.  But I say:  don't swear at all.  Let your yes mean yes and your no no.

Reflect
    • Creighton:  Barnabas, “son of encouragement,” is an ideal disciple:  faithful, joyful, strong, Spirit-filled, faith-full.  His legacy, the spirit of Antioch, thrives today....
      "Let your yes mean yes
      and your no, no" (for sale)
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Barnabas, the ultimate enabler":  Without Barnabas, the Church may not have accepted Paul.  Jerusalem Christians couldn't believe persecutor Paul was really a disciple.  "Barnabas took [Paul] in charge and introduced him to the apostles.  He explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord... and had been speaking out in the name of Jesus."  Barnabas was both encourager and enabler.  Today, "enabler" isn't a complimentary label, but Barnabas enabled the Jewish disciples to accept Paul, enabled the Antioch Christians to be nourished with God's Word, and enabled the first Christian mission by leading it.  When he saw the Spirit was working through Paul, he enabled Paul to lead the mission by allowing him to be the main speaker.  Barnabas was martyred in his homeland; then the Lord enabled him to enter his heavenly home and experience the love surpassing all knowledge.  May we too....
    • Passionist:  Nicknames can be imposed in fun, affection, or belittlement, or be descriptive.  Such was the case with Levite Joseph of Cyprus.  He was bold in his actions, concerned with the needs of others, especially the ostracized, criticized, and marginalized.  He saw God's grace in an angry Pharisee ostracized for persecuting of Christians, in a young man criticized for being too frightened to continue a long and arduous journey, in marginalized Gentiles wanting to follow of Christ; he sought them all out, comforted them, listened, saw their gift, and encouraged them.  Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle, frightened John Mark became the bold author of Mk; and we Gentiles follow Christ.  The apostles nicknamed Joseph Barnabas, "son of encouragement,"  a name we all should strive to bear.  May we like him set aside our egos, discern the needs of the marginated, invisible, forgotten, or ostracized; may we see God's grace in them and rejoice.
      St. Barnabas
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Say simply Yes or No":  To be true to oneself and others takes character many people don't have.  God's word and law are truth, liberating us from illusion, deceit, and hypocrisy.  Truth demands that we live according to it and be faithful witnesses of it.  Jesus spoke against all forms of untruthfulness and swearing unnecessary oaths to God.  A disciple's word should be trustworthy.  We must not "stretch the truth" by adding to it, compromising it, or misleading by omission.  "We can't live together if not for mutual confidence that we're being truthful to each other.  As a matter of honor, we owe it to each other to manifest the truth" (Thomas Aquinas, paraphrased).
    • Universalis:  Barnabas ["son of encouragement"], apostle, early convert, accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey, then went to Cyprus to preach with cousin John Mark (the evangelist).  (Synopsis with scriptural references)  Likely martyred in Cyprus; see also Wikipedia.  Find those who need encouragement today.

    Dress legend
    • 'Heart' tie bar:  Barnabas encouraged them to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart (1st reading)
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Barnabas was filled with the Spirit (1st reading)
    • 'Abacus' tie pin [instructions]:  A large number of people was added to the Lord....  They taught a large number... (1st reading)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  In Antioch the disciples were first 'called' Christians (1st reading)
    • 'Hands' tie:  ...then laid hands on Barnabas and Saul...  (1st reading); the Lord's right hand won victory (psalm)
    • 'Olympics' pin:  All the ends of the earth have seen God's salvation (psalm)
    • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  With trumpets ... sing joyfully before the Lord  (psalm)
    • 'Scales of justice' pin:  The Lord has revealed his justice (psalm)
    • 'White and black keyboard' suspenders:  "You can't make one hair white or black.  Let your yes mean yes and your no no." (gospel)
    • Red shirt for feast of apostle Barnabas