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The Everyday Prayer

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

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, 19-26

Those who had scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they proclaimed the message only to Jews.

Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching also to the Greeks, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus to them.

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 the apostle Barnabas. Although he was not one of the twelve, Barnabas receives the title of apostle for his important role in the first Christian community. Joseph, who the disciples gave the name Barnabas, which means “son of consolation”, was from Cyprus. He sold his field and gave his possessions to the apostles. With this gesture, Barnabas demonstrated that he understood that only by giving up one’s riches can one follow Jesus and participate in the building up of a community of love. The apostles chose him to send to Antioch, the third capital of the Roman Empire, where the Gospel was preached not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles. For the first time, disciples of Jewish origin did not exclusively make up the community. And it was in Antioch that the disciples of Jesus were first called “Christians,” probably because of the notable influx of Gentiles who had markedly distinguished the new community from those of Jewish background. One of the great, imperial cities, amid its complex and convulsive life, Antioch saw a new light shine that gave hope to many. Barnabas, knowing of Paul’s conversion, invited him to Antioch to witness to all his encounter with Christ. He also brought Paul to Jerusalem to present him to the other apostles and to defend the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles without submitting them to circumcision. Together with Paul and John Mark, his nephew and young witness of the Lord’s passion, he undertook the first great apostolic journey. The Christian community, obedient to the Spirit, crossed over its borders to communicate the Gospel to the ends of the earth. With Paul, he defended the evangelization of the Gentiles at the council of Jerusalem. According to tradition, after having preached in Rome and Milan, he went to Salamina where he was martyred. His witness underlines the urgency today with which we should communicate the Gospel not only to the ends of the earth, but on new human, ethical and social horizons opening up before us at the beginning of this new millennium. The example of Barnabas pushes us to follow these new paths, strengthened only by the Gospel and by the Lord’s fellowship. The Church’s mission is not born from human initiatives or from a desire to expand. The Spirit of the Lord that Jesus promised to the apostles and to those who would follow, urges the disciples of every era to follow the ways of the world and of the heart to communicate the Gospel of love. Also today the Christian communities ought to listen to the Spirit and will hear again the voice that says: “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” And each disciple can hear this invitation from the Lord and apply it to him or herself.

Memory of the Apostles

Calendar of the week
Sunday, 18 June
Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Monday, 19 June
Prayer for peace
Tuesday, 20 June
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
Wednesday, 21 June
Memory of the Saints and the Prophets
Thursday, 22 June
Memory of the Church
Friday, 23 June
Memory of Jesus crucified
Saturday, 24 June
Sunday Vigil
Sunday, 25 June
Liturgy of the Sunday