St Barnabas, apostle, Memorial
‘Come, before the Lord, singing for joy.’ (Invitatory antiphon).
During the time of Covid-19, good news was/is not in scarce supply. The good news from the final ‘Late Late Show’ of the year, hosted by Ryan Tubridy informed its viewers that donations to Irish charitable causes amounted to over €6 million since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a proud and humbling moment for the presenter, as he thanked everyone. The generosity of many individuals will help charities, including, The Society of St Vincent De Paul, Pieta, The Julian Benson Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The Irish Cancer Foundation, Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice and the Capuchin Day Centre.
Today, the Church celebrates the feast of St Barnabas. He was born on the island of Cyprus. Barnabas, the apostle was sent to proclaim the Good News to the people of Antioch, though not in monetary terms, as in the ‘Late Late Show’ but in the Good News of the person of Jesus.
Today’s readings from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:21-26, 13:1-3) and the Gospel (Mt 10:7-13) are proclaimed at Mass via the webcam or read from the New Testament.
When Barnabas was sent to Antioch he rejoiced at what he saw and heard. It was here at ‘Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians’. The Good News of the Lord Jesus was spreading there and ‘a great number believed and turned to the Lord.’ He encouraged those he met and ‘urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord.’ Barnabas was ‘a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.’ Because of this, ‘large crowds came to know the Lord.’
The Gospel tells of Jesus sending out the twelve apostles. He instructs them on the way to go. He said to proclaim the Good News that ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ He instructed them to ‘heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons.’ Jesus tells them that they received without charge and they must give without charge. All the disciples receive from God is always gift.
SEEK GOD’S LOVE IN THE GROW IN LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The themes of the readings are woven through the Grow in Love programme. From their earliest years in school the children are introduced to the twelve apostles.
They do not meet the apostle St Barnabas as one of the twelve apostles in the Grow in Love programme. Children recall that apostles and disciples are called by God to share the Good News of God’s love. They recognise that God’s love is inclusive, unconditional and everlasting. God sent Jesus who promises to remain with those who believe ‘until the end of time.’ The Holy Spirit helps the disciples in their mission.
The children recognise in the first reading that Barnabas rejoiced when he heard that the Good News was spreading; and that a great number believed and returned to the Lord. Children identify as they mature that it takes personal effort to remain in relationship and faithful to God. They learn that to pray is to communicate with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They identify that it is not their love for God that is important; it is God’s love for them, because God is love. God will help them to grow in love and to live justly.
The children might be prompted to see how Barnabas went in search of Saul and brought him to Antioch to work with him. They worked together with the Church and instructed many people.
Likewise when Jesus sent out the apostles, he sent them out in pairs. The Church holds the same principle today. Members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul work in pairs or small groups, as also do members of the Legion of Mary and other associations.
God sent Jesus so people might know of God’s love. Jesus taught and witnessed to God’s love. Children are taught that in receiving the sacraments that they meet the risen Jesus. Nourished by the Eucharist and the Word, they participate in the mission of Jesus and share the Good News.
Barnabas was a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. He was a good role model for those he encountered. Children are taught that they also receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism and the gift of faith. Children pray to the Holy Spirit so they can come to know the Lord Jesus and his will for them. They identify good role models in society who strive to live lives of holiness.
The children are taught about the Kingdom of Heaven as they read the parables. They learn what Jesus said, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed…the yeast in the dough… the hidden treasure, the pearl of great price’. They learn that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a place but the reality of where and how we live in the world in imitation of Jesus.
Children might read the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven given to those who strive to live according to Jesus’ teaching on the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-13).
Resources on the VERITAS website are available to support the teaching of Jesus on love, discipleship and the Parables.
READ from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
‘The Parable of the Mustard Seed’ (Lk 13:18-19), ‘The Parable of the Yeast’ (Mt 13:33), ‘The Parable of the Hidden Treasure’ (Mt 13: 44), ‘The Parable of the Pearl’ (Mt 13:45-46), ‘The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard’ (Mt 20:1-16), ‘Parable of the Three Servants’ (Mt 25:14-29), Parable of the Unforgiving Servant’ (Mt 18:21-35).
SING from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé:
‘Our God is an Awesome God’, ‘Go Tell Everyone’, ‘Whatsoever You Do’, ‘Beginning Today’, ‘God is ready to Forgive’, ‘City of God’.
PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
From the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-13)
‘… Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them….
Happy are those who are persecuted because they do
what God requires;
the Kingdom of God belongs to them.’
‘Give your people knowledge of salvation, Lord, and forgive us our sins.’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘The Lord has satisfied and filled with good things, those who hungered for justice.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘The Lord has made known his salvation, to the nations.’ (Psalm 15:1).
‘Jesus took up the biblical faith in God the Creator, emphasizing a fundamental truth: God is Father (cf. Mt 11:25). In talking with his disciples, Jesus would invite them to recognize the paternal relationship God has with all his creatures. With moving tenderness he would remind them that each one of them is important in God’s eyes: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God” (Lk 12:6). “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26). (Laudato Si’, no.96).
St Barnabas, please pray for us.
‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’
Sr Anne Neylon