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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Vigil of Pentecost
Memory of the apostle Barnabas, companion of Paul in Antioch and on his first apostolic journey.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 11, 21-26

The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

The news of them came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem and they sent Barnabas out to Antioch.

There he was glad to see for himself that God had given grace, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion;

for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.

Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul,

and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. And it happened that they stayed together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called 'Christians'.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church remembers Barnabas. A native of Cyprus, he lived in Jerusalem where he embraced the Gospel, becoming a model disciple: he had sold all his possessions and placed the proceeds at the feet of the apostles. It was they who sent Barnabas to Antioch, the third capital of the Roman Empire, where the Gospel was preached not only to the Jews, but also to the pagans: for the first time, the community was not only composed only of disciples of Jewish origin. The apostles chose Barnabas, precisely to help with the organization of this new and promising community. It was in this city that Jesus’ disciples were for the first time called "Christians," probably because the significant entry of pagans markedly distinguished this new community from the Jewish ones. One of the great cities of the empire saw the emergence in its complicated and hectic life of a new light, which gave hope to many. Barnabas, learning of Paul’s conversion, invited him to Antioch to give witness before everyone of his encounter with Jesus. And he also brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the other apostles and to defend the preaching of the Gospel to pagans, also without having them submit to circumcision. Together with Paul he undertakes the first great apostolic journey, bringing along John Mark, too, Barnabas’ nephew, a still young witness of the Lord’s passion. The Christian community, obedient to the action of the Spirit, let itself be guided beyond its walls in order to communicate the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Those Christians overcame the temptation that always recurs, even in our days, to fold ourselves over ourselves: they accepted Jesus’ exhortation to preach the Gospel to every creature up to the extreme corners of the earth. The Church’s mission does not arise out of human planning or the desire for expansion. It is the Spirit of the Lord, the one Jesus promised to the apostles and those who would follow them, which impels the disciples of every age to travel the pathways of the world and of hearts to communicate the Gospel of love. Today, too, the Christian communities should listen to the Spirit, and they will once again hear the voice which says: "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." And each one can apply to him or herself this invitation of the Lord.

Memory of the Apostles