Thursday, X Week of Ordinary Time, Year A

Saint Barnabas, pray for us!

Readings: 1st: Hch 11:21-26; Ps: 97; Gos: Mt 5:20-26

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this Thursday of the tenth week of ordinary time, the Church honors one of the great pillars of our faith, Saint Barnabas, Apostle.

Originally and strictly speaking, Barnabas was not one the twelve apostles. However, he earned this title since the early times.

While his first name is Joseph, he is popularly known by his surname, Barnabas, which means: “The son of encouragement.”  He was a man filled with the Holy spirit and faith. He played an important role in the extension of Christianity outside the Jewish world.

The Holy Spirit specifically approved his mission: “Set apart for me, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” During this mission, he proved the meaning of his name: “The son of encouragement.”

In today’s gospel, Christ sets a higher standard for us. Christ, not being satisfied with the level of the spirituality and morality of the pharisees and Scribes, calls us to aspire for a higher level than theirs.

Hence, he insists: “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” He simply wants us to rise above the hypocritical life style.

Rather, he wants us to live an authentic Christian life. He wants us to embrace the true religion. That is, a religion that comes from a sincere search for the truth. A religion that truly “fears” God, respects, and cares for others.

The Apostle we honor today, Saint Barnabas, was a Jew like the pharisees in every respect. He belonged to the tribe of Levi.

However, unlike the Pharisees and Scribes, there is a lot we must learn from Barnabas. Spiritually and morally speaking, he was a very authentic Christian who lived what he believed, and preached.

After his conversion, his first authentic action was to his property, and place the money at the feet of the apostles, and dedicated the rest of his life completely to God (Acts 4:37).

Therefore, let us ask Christ to help us live a very authentic Christian life style. A life style that will earn us the kingdom of God.

Saint Barnabas, pray for us!

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

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