By Michael Smith

Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle

A Reading from Acts 4:32-37

32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). 37 He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Meditation

Today is the feast day of St. Barnabas. He is mentioned 27 times in the Acts of the Apostles, mostly as a missionary companion of St. Paul. But in this reading, he is noted for his financial generosity in selling a field he owned and sharing the proceeds for the benefit of his less fortunate sisters and brothers. It is also interesting to note that the apostles give him “the name Barnabas, which means ‘son of encouragement.’”

Barnabas obviously took to heart what we hear so often in teaching about financial stewardship: that the money does not really belong to us but to God, and we have been entrusted with it for God’s purposes. This is a difficult teaching and contrary to the prevailing culture’s pull. Since there is still a need for conversion in this area for many of us, I wonder if the feast of St. Barnabas might be a good day to consider encouraging a brother or sister with a financial gift.

Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas
The Diocese of Western North Carolina