BY: Fr. Karabari Paul



‘…he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose’

The First Reading (Acts 11:19-26) reveals the character of Barnabas as an encourager. But did you know that ‘Barnabas’ means ‘son of encouragement’? And he was true to his name.

Antioch had experienced a great harvest as many Gentiles as well as Jews were converted to Christ. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem got this report and were worried that the mixture of Jewish and Gentile Christians could create problems unless someone of mature judgement was sent to encourage them. Being proactive right? You don’t just ask for God’s blessing. You must also pray for the right attitude to handle it.

And Barnabas, son of encouragement, was sent. He encouraged Christians to be true to the Lord. He urged them to be faithful despite ridicule “with a firm resolve of the heart”. Sometimes, life throws different unpleasant things at us. We need to encourage one another. We all know that the words we say have an impact on those around us. If we are speaking negative words, we can create a negative atmosphere around us. But if we are speaking positivity, we can encourage others. The Bible tells us to ‘encourage one another and build each other up’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11). How we speak to others will determine what sort of relationship we will have with them. If people are always rude to us, or lie to us, we are not likely to stay around long. And it’s the same the other way round. We need to let our conversations with others be ‘always full of grace, seasoned with salt.’ The words we speak come out of how we feel.

More importantly, someone’s situation can change when they listen to the right voice of encouragement. Barnabas was just the right person to go to Antioch. You can equally be the right person to encourage someone in your family, Church or community. You can be that very channel of God’s love to someone almost giving up on life. And this doesn’t just apply to our words to others. How we speak to, and about, ourselves is really important too. We need to be speaking God’s truth over ourselves. We need to encourage ourselves and show grace to ourselves when we make mistakes.

The disciples didn’t blend in, they stood out, and the world they lived in recognised that they ‘had been with Jesus’ (Acts 4:13). They preached His message, used His methods, and demonstrated His miracles. At Antioch they were first called ‘Christians’ (Acts 11:26). That is because they talked and acted so much like Christ. Christianity is not a name-tag. It is a way of life. It is a practical way of living modelled after Christ. A Christian is simply Christlike. Disciples showed, 1) Commitment: At some point in our lives, we have come up with reasons why we shouldn’t have to do the things we have been asked to do by God. Things like fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of persecution, and not feeling good enough can stop us from taking that step out of our comfort zones to follow His will. 2). Courage: In the face of threat, one of these two things happens: you either break down or break through. It all depends on what you do. The disciples were courageous. We can’t live for Christ in this world if we aren’t courageous. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.

Fr. Karabari Paul

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