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Tag Archives: Barnabas

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ACTS 15:22-31)

IT HAS BEEN DECIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BY OURSELVES NOT TO SADDLE YOU WITH ANY BURDEN BEYOND ESSENTIALS.

The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:

“The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us, and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrifices to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.”

The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ACTS 15:7-21)

I RULE THAT WE DO NOT MAKE THINGS MORE DIFFICULT FOR PAGANS WHO TURN TO GOD.

After the discussion had gone on a long time, Peter stood up and addressed the apostles and elders.

“My brothers,” he said, “you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you: the pagans were to learn the Good News from me and so become believers. In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us. God made no distinction between them and us, since he purified their hearts by faith. It would only provoke God’s anger now, surely, if you imposed on the disciples the very burden that neither we nor our ancestors were strong enough to support? Remember, we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus.”

This silenced the entire assembly, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the pagans.

When they had finished it was James who spoke. “My brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Simeon has described how God first arranged to enlist a people for his name out of the pagans. This is entirely in harmony with the words of the prophets, since the scriptures say:

After that I shall return
and rebuild the fallen House of David;
I shall rebuild it from its ruins
and restore it.
Then the rest of mankind,
all the pagans who are consecrated to my name,
will look for the Lord,
says the Lord who made this known so long ago.

“I rule, then, that instead of making things more difficult for pagans who turn to God, we send them a letter telling them merely to abstain from anything polluted by idols, from fornication, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has always had his preachers in every town, and is read aloud in the synagogues every sabbath.”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ACTS 15:1-6)

IT WAS ARRANGED THAT THEY SHOULD GO UP TO JERUSALEM AND DISCUSS THE PROBLEM WITH THE APOSTLES AND ELDERS

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, “Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.” This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.

All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.

But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ACTS 14:5-18)

WE HAVE COME WITH GOOD NEWS TO MAKE YOU TURN FROM THESE EMPTY IDOLS TO THE LIVING GOD.

Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on Paul and Barnabas and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.

A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, “Get to your feet – stand up,” and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.

When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, “These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.” They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he given you food and makes you happy.” Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop to crowd offering them sacrifice.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ACTS 12:24-13:5)

SET BARNABAS AND SAUL APART.

The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers. Barnabas and Saul completed their task and came back from Jerusalem, bringing John Mark with them.

In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, “I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.” So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ACTS 11:19-26)

THEY STARTED PREACHING TO THE GREEKS, PROCLAIMING THE LORD JESUS.

Those who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.

Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians”.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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THE RADICAL ENTHUSIASM FOR SHARING THE FAITH WHICH PAUL RADIATED IS AT THE HEART OF THIS YEAR OF FAITH

HAVING THEMSELVES EXPERIENCED THE OVERWHELMING LOVE OF CHRIST, THEY BURNED TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.

Those two great missionaries, Paul and Barnabas, travelled widely, ceaselessly preaching the news of the Kingdom despite undergoing beatings, imprisonment and rejection. St Luke tells the story of their awesome undertakings, of how they cooperated with the Spirit to tell of Jesus Christ to the various communities. On fire with the love of Jesus, they overcame every obstacle, preaching ‘in season, out of season’. We get a marvellous glimpse of this in Chapter 14 of the Acts of the Apostles when, at the end of their first missionary journey after many difficulties, they arrive in Antioch. Bursting to tell the news, “they gathered the Church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).

Having themselves experienced the overwhelming love of Christ, they burned to share it with others. “They put fresh heart into the disciples encouraging them to persevere in the faith” (Acts 14:22). The radical enthusiasm for sharing the faith which Paul radiated is at the heart of this Year of Faith. “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy.” In his letter ‘Porta Fidei’ (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict goes on to quote the words of St Augustine, “Believers strengthen themselves by believing.”

We must not let the gift of faith given to us lie wrapped up like a precious jewel hidden in a safe. “Fan into a flame the gift God gave you” (2Tim 1:6), Paul writes to Timothy, advice to encourage us also. True faith is not adhering to a bulk of doctrine, but an encounter with a living Person, Jesus. Now is the time to respond with all our hearts, with all our energies, to his welcome, “Come and see” (Jn 1:39) and allow ourselves to be transformed by his grace. Getting to know and love the Lord, listening and responding to his word, is the first step on this lifelong journey. As our love for him overflows, others are drawn to share this faith.

This Year of Faith, the Pope writes, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord. We are to radiate the Word of truth in our lives. We are invited to look at and be inspired and nourished by the great riches in the treasury of our faith. “The love of Christ urges us” (2Cor 5:17) to go through that open door and bring others with us. Let us not sit idly by but, as Paul, having reached the end of his life urged his faithful disciple Timothy, “let us stand by the truths we have learned” (2Tim 3:14).
– Published in “Far East”, Magazine of the Columban Missionaries, issue January/February 2013. Find out more about the Columban Missionaries at http://www.columbans.co.uk and http://www.columbansisters.org (external links).

 
 

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