Thursday, June 11, 2015

Here's to the un-sung heroes

When we think of the early Church which began as a totally Jewish movement and how the Gentile were added later, we think  of St. Paul. We call him the Apostle to the Gentiles.  All of that is true. But he did not do it alone.

Today the Church calls on us to remember another apostle to the Gentiles, Barnabas.   The name given him my his parents was Joses (a Greek name), but as often happens in the Bible to mark the beginning of a new phase of life, the Apostles gave him a new name  Barnabas (an Aramaic name) which means " Son of the Prophet". He was a Jew from Cyprus, and accompanied Paul at many of the most important moments in his life, including the first Council in the Church,  the Council of Jerusalem.

St. Barnabas reminds us not only that we all are called to participate in the mission of spreading the gospel, but he also reminds us that most of us will carry out this prophetic role without ever becoming famous. In fact, the vast majority of the great preachers in the Church have lived their earthly life, and passed to eternal life, unremembered. And that is not a bad thing.

We do not need to live on in history books, because we live forever in heaven.  We do not need to be remembered, because we never stop being living active members of the Church. Even as I write this I know that Barnabas is still alive, and interceding before the throne of God for all of us, as we strive to spread the Gospel.

For ever Paul there is at least one Barnabas and in truth many, many more.