Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daily Office Reflection: Saint Barnabas

MP: Psalms 15, 67; Ecclesiasticus 31:3-11; Acts 4:32-37
EP: Psalms 19, 146; Job 29:1-16; Acts 9:26-31

Saint Barnabas sold property and gave the proceeds to the apostles to distribute to those in their community who were in need and according to their need. He journeyed around the Mediterranean coast establishing churches, brought Paul into the fold, travelled with Paul and then separated from Paul over an argument. He apparently had a commanding persona as one of the accounts in Acts has him being mistaken as the Greek god Jupiter, the king of all their gods. And yet, he used these talents and gifts and wealth not for himself but for the founding of the church.

The Ecclesiasticus reading we are given for MP shows us how dangerous wealth can be, how alluring and distracting it can be for us, taking us away from the effectuation of the kingdom Jesus calls us to. Having it assigned to Barnabas provides us with a lesson about how to appropriately utilize the gifts of wealth we are given. I am always struck when reading these ancient readings how much we have not changed, deep down. How, no matter how much we advance technologically, there is this innate yearning and desire to retain wealth for ourselves. I find this a fascinating idea to pray on.

Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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