10 June 2011

St. Barnabas (June 11)

Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.  But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Acts 11:19-24

St. Barnabas being instructed by the"Teacher of the Apostles" (the Church, as represented by Mary)

Martyrdom of Barnabas

A Cyprian Jew, Barnabas, born Joseph, was a fellow missionary with Paul.  He was first to receive Paul after his conversion, and bring him to the apostles (Acts 9:27).  Later, when news of conversions in Antioch reached the church in Jerusalem, Barnabas traveled there to confirm the reports and encourage the new converts, who had been evangelized by Barnabas' fellow countrymen, Cyprian christians.   Realizing the Gentiles were ripe for the Gospel, he convinced Paul to join him, and they labored in Antioch.  Later, along with Barnabas' nephew John Mark, the missionaries traveled to Cyprus and other Gentile cities.  They received much persecution from local Jews.  Barnabas was present at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 14).  He later returned to Cyprus with John Mark. 

Legend says Barnabas was the first bishop of Milan and converter of St. Clement.  He also is said to have written the Epistle to the Hebrews, although this is probably not true.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia: With the exception of St. Paul and certain of the Twelve, Barnabas appears to have been the most esteemed man of the first Christian generation. St. Luke, breaking his habit of reserve, speaks of him with affection, "for he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of Faith". His title to glory comes not only from his kindliness of heart, his personal sanctity, and his missionary labours, but also from his readiness to lay aside his Jewish prejudices, in this anticipating certain of the Twelve; from his large-hearted welcome of the Gentiles, and from his early perception of Paul's worth, to which the Christian Church is indebted, in large part at least, for its great Apostle. His tenderness towards John Mark seems to have had its reward in the valuable services later rendered by him to the Church.

Coloring pages: Barnabas' gift to the church

Activities: Make some Cyprian food, read about Christians today in the places Paul and Barnabas traveled,

And here are some St. Barnabas Day sermons:
Pr. Weedon
Pr. Beane

(If you have favorite sermons from Feast Days from your Pastor--or any Lutheran pastor--email me a copy and I'll post it on the proper day.  For those of us whose churches don't observe feasts which fall during the week--or who are unable to attend the services--a sermon accompanying the lectionary is useful! Thanks!)

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