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Tuesday, April 13, 1999

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Pope St. Martin I

Acts 4:32-37
Psalm 93
John 3:7-15

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our need for barnabases

"There was a certain Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (meaning 'son of encouragement'). He sold a farm that he owned and made a donation of the money, laying it at the apostles' feet." —Acts 4:36-37

To witness powerfully "to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33), we need people like Mary who will continue steadfastly praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14). We also need faithful people like Matthias to replace unfaithful leaders like Judas. To proclaim effectively the good news of the risen Christ, we need repentant preachers like Peter, martyrs like Stephen, and missionaries like Paul. We greatly need self-sacrificing, generous, zealous sons and daughters of encouragement like Barnabas (Acts 4:36).

People like Barnabas set the tone for the Christian community. God's people, like all people, tend to be selfish, petty, worldly, and begrudging. We look to do the minimum in sacrifice and commitment and get the maximum in pleasure and comfort. Through Barnabases, God's people are pulled out of the swamp of minimalism and mediocrity. We repent so we give rather than take, serve rather than insist on being served, die rather than sin, and sacrifice rather than do our own thing. A church without Barnabases is nauseating to Jesus (Rv 3:16). A church with Barnabases looks like the body and bride of Christ. Be a Barnabas.

Prayer:  Father, may zeal for You consume me (Ps 69:10; Jn 2:17).

Promise:  "The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes. So it is with everyone begotten of the Spirit." —Jn 3:8

Praise:  Pope St. Martin asked himself, when abandoned by former friends, "Why am I anxious? The Lord is near." He was the last pope to die as a martyr.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998