Deacon Bob’s Homily for Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle

St. Barnabas was a man from Jerusalem, sent by the twelve Apostles into Asia Minor to preach. He took with him St. Paul and accompanied him on his mission there. In Antioch, to which they traveled, the followers of Jesus were first called Christians.

It begs the question, “What is a Christian?”

Before the coming of our Lord Jesus, before Mary said, “yes” and conceived the Son of God in her womb, before Jesus lived, suffered, died, rose, ascended and with the Father sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit, those chosen people of God called themselves followers of the Law. After Jesus’ resurrection his followers called themselves, “Christians,” followers of Christ.

Indeed, the person of Christ took precedence over the Law. All the Apostles were clear about this: Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Law, and it was knowing Jesus and the power flowing from his resurrection, that was paramount, not observance of the Law. Yes, the Law was glorious in its own right, but the glory of knowing and being in relationship with Jesus far outshone the fading glory of the Law. This was the great message of the Apostles which they preached and taught and largely died proclaiming.

A Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ, knows him, and wants to tell others about him. All the laws follow from this and are subordinate to it.

Mind you, this does not diminish the law of God or the Church, for in truth, it magnifies that law and illuminates the law, and gives us freedom in obedience to the law. The law of God  and the Church give us life (not death), when we understand them in the light of the resurrection of Jesus and our knowledge and relationship with Him.

This is our great gift, from God and to others. Let us be ever so grateful. Let us go forth to share this gift with others.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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