Thursday, June 11, 2015

While On The Way

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Minute Meditations

Wise Choices

Protect yourself from moments of temptation by forming your conscience so you can determine if an action is right or wrong—seeking to act on true knowledge instead of acting in the moment, or on emotion.
— from The Princess Guide

St. BarnabasListen to Audio

Barnabas, a Jew of Cyprus, comes as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being a full-fledged apostle. He was closely associated with St. Paul (he introduced Paul to Peter and the other apostles) and served as a kind of mediator between the former persecutor and the still suspicious Jewish Christians.

When a Christian community developed at Antioch, Barnabas was sent as the official representative of the Church of Jerusalem to incorporate them into the fold. He and Paul instructed in Antioch for a year, after which they took relief contributions to Jerusalem.

Later, Paul and Barnabas, now clearly seen as charismatic leaders, were sent by Antioch officials to preach to the Gentiles. Enormous success crowned their efforts. After a miracle at Lystra, the people wanted to offer sacrifice to them as gods—Barnabas being Zeus, and Paul, Hermes—but the two said, "We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God" (see Acts 14:8-18).

But all was not peaceful. They were expelled from one town, they had to go to Jerusalem to clear up the ever-recurring controversy about circumcision and even the best of friends can have differences. When Paul wanted to revisit the places they had evangelized, Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark, his cousin, author of the Gospel (April 25), but Paul insisted that, since Mark had deserted them once, he was not fit to take along now. The disagreement that followed was so sharp that Barnabas and Paul separated, Barnabas taking Mark to Cyprus, Paul taking Silas to Syria. Later, they were reconciled—Paul, Barnabas and Mark.

When Paul stood up to Peter for not eating with Gentiles for fear of his Jewish friends, we learn that "even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy" (see Galatians 2:1-13).


Barnabas is mentioned by name as one of the generous members of the idyllic and extremely poor Church in Jerusalem: "The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. . . . There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

"Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated 'son of encouragement.), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a pieace of property that he owned, then broguht the moeny and put it at the feet of the apostles" (Acts 4:32, 34-37).


Barnabas is spoken of simply as one who dedicated his life to the Lord. He was a man "filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby large numbers were added to the Lord." Even when he and Paul were expelled from Antioch in Pisidia (modern-day Turkey), they were "filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."


Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.

Daily Prayer - 2015-06-11


I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....


Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.
I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom.
I pray for all prisoners and captives.


Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am. How has the last day been, and how do I feel now?
I share my feelings openly with the Lord.

The Word of God


Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle

Reading 1 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, Symeon 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 revealed to the nations his saving power.
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. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
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. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
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. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Alleluia Jn 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother,
Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

    Listen to audio of this reading

    Watch a video reflection


Some thoughts on today's scripture

+ Jesus is unhappy with taking the prohibition of murder too literally or restrictively. He wants it to include any kind of psychological or verbal abuse of another human being. Life is meant to be about relationships that are peaceful and harmonious. Hence the need for reconciliation when relationships break down. Am I in need of reconciliation with anyone today? Am I willing to leave my "gift" (whatever it may be) before the altar and seek reconciliation first with my offended brother or sister?


What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,

world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3

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Saint Barnabas, Apostle

He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. (Acts 11:24)

When your ceiling falls in and water starts gushing from above, you call a plumber. When your house catches fire, you call the fire department. When you hear that a new church has sprung up in Antioch, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles, who do you call? A peacemaker! Even in those early days, leaders in the Church knew that when a large number of zealous, excited people get together, they need a guiding hand and some skilled mediation.So the apostles sent Barnabas.

This isn't the only place in the Scriptures where we encounter this fellow. Other stories help round out our image of who Barnabas is and what sort of character traits he has. When he is first introduced, we learn that his real name is Joseph, but the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement" (Acts 4:36). Then, every time he appears in Acts or Paul's letters, we hear of him as a peacemaker, as someone widely respected in the Church. Indeed, he must have been a solid, reliable man, to be sent to a faraway city on such an important mission!

We'd all like to be peacemakers. But it isn't enough to want it. Bringing peace to a stressful situation—helping people to experience God's calm—can be quite a challenge. How do we know what to say to defuse an argument or bring people together in harmony? A great clue is in Barnabas name, and in the first thing he did when he got to Antioch: encouragement.

Peacemaking doesn't involve having all the answers. It doesn't mean taking control of a situation and mastering everyone involved. The first step can often be just a simple boost. "You're doing great." "I'm proud of you; hang in there." Even if we have no other wisdom to offer, a few genuine encouraging words can defuse a tense situation. It can soften hearts and start people on the path to reconciliation. Your hopeful, peace-filled attitude can be contagious, in fact.

So the next time you're in a stressful situation that needs a peacemaker, remember Barnabas, and try to become a son or daughter of encouragement as well!

"Lord, help me to be a peacemaker and serve you as faithfully as Barnabas did."


Psalm 98:1-6
Matthew 5:20-26



We've read much about Barnabas today, a true follower of Christ filled with the Holy Spirit, evident in his encouragement.  And so reading about it, are you encouraged?  Then the Lord calls and says for them to be set apart.  Ke'dosh, in Hebrew, means to be "set apart", and ke'dosh means holiness.  Thus has been the point of God's people.  He wants us set apart for Him, our lives, whether alive in the flesh or not, set apart for Him.  And it is better to set apart your life as of now, rather when life becomes eternal, where salvation or damnation are truly lived.  They laid their hands on Paul and Barnabas and sent off, on a mission, as a bishop of the Church, yet we have them lay hands on us in Confirmation of the Holy Spirit, a sending forth, much like when the priest lays his hands out at the end of Mass in the sending forth and sends us out on a mission, and what do you come back with?
The Psalms pray "The Lord has revealed to the Nations His saving power" and "He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel."  He remembers faithfulness and kindness.  He loves Holy people.  Does that mean He hates un-holy people?  Nope.  He hates what we're doing to ourselves...sending ourselves into a world where He is not.  Like the parent of a child knowing the life they are living is sending them to jail, while the obedient loving child is living with them nourishing one another with Love, while the other's lack of love is not a lack of love on the parent's part.  And this leads to then, what the Lord loves...righteousness.
Our Lord speaks in the Holy Gospel and says ""I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven."  WHOA!  This is a heavy line to swallow.  The scribes followed and knew the law of the Lord down to a "t", the letter.  These were laywers, theologians, and "evangelizers", and our Lord says if our righteousness doesn't surpass theirs we aren't getting into the Kingdom?  What's this all about?  Well, let's just say this, you may know the law, you may know the bible, but if you don't know Jesus in the heart, you don't know squat.  And this goes for anyone at any level of faith.  Yeah, you may be a deacon, or a priest, or a lay person (non clergy), or a theologian, or one just trying to get started in the faith, or being led to it, and with what little you know, or with what all you do know, if you do not apply the righteousness of God, if you are not led by His righteosness and seek and live it, you are far from His Kingdom, and can not see the way to it for eternity.  Is it right that I "know the bible" and can not forgive someone?  Is it right that I am a bible scholar and call someone else an "idiot" for not knowing what you happen to know?  Or is it right to claim to know Jesus and live in a life of anxiety and stress, and this after consuming Him in Holy Mass?  None of this is right, or better said, righteous.  We must strive then for righteousness with a sincere heart.  God wants us sinless, and today, He makes it clear that calling each other names is a sin.  That is why I am disgusted with name callings.  I don't even like the nicknames people use for one another, the degrading ones, the ones that call people by their defect or ridicule.  This is saying RAQA.  This is saying FOOL.  Two days ago, we read the Gospel previous to today's, and my heart knew today's was coming.  Yet, a worker made it sound like another worker had goofed on a payroll check.  When I approached her about it, she made it known it was the original workers fault for not turning in hours.  I blurted (jokingly yet in aggrevation) FOOL!  And right then I knew I had sinned, even in a joke.  I apologized to the one I said "fool" to, and I was forgiven.  But how many of us go to Holy Communion calling others names or looking down on others?  And how many of us go to Holy Communion knowing others are holding something against us?  I know I had another worker upset last month because he thought I was calling him a liar when I said to him simply "I guess I'm just going to have to start recording our phone conversations" since I said couldn't remember what he says he said.  How he took it as me calling him a liar is beyond my thoughts, I was being sincere that I couldn't remember what he was saying.  And so I asked another worker, an uncle what he thought, and he said to remember we are to leave our gift at the altar and make amends, be reconciled.  Thank God for reconciliation, Holy Confession.  In this case though, I went direct to the source and made amends.  Even though it was a hard pill to swallow, of humility, I had "done nothing wrong" right?  WRONG.  I made somebody mad, allbeit, unintentionally.  Was it his job to apoologize?  In the eyes of the world yes.  In the eyes of righteousness, mercy, and love, it is an act of charity to stretch yourself beyond your sight, and do what Jesus says for us to do, Loving beyond comprehension.  And so is our Lord simply asking us to watch our tongue?  PSHHH NO!  It goes way beyond just that!  He is asking us to love with HIS Love, a truly human heart.  If you truly love like Him, your righteousness will be natural, and you won't have to be watching out for goofing up.  And I'm talking about living a life of grace.    And why do I have to love like that?   Because it is good for others?  Yes and no.  It is not just good for the "others" meaning, anyone that's not you, but it is good for yourself, your own salvation even.  That of obedience and setting yourself apart to remain with LOVE!!