Kimberley Reflections – Feast of St Barnabas – Archdeacon Thomas Mhuriro

Homily on the Feast of St Barnabas : The Ven Dr Thomas Mhuriro
On the Feast of St Barnabas (transferred from 11 June because of Corpus Christi this year).
We have been sharing reflections together this week and I would like to conclude by raising some questions that could benefit our commitment to the cause of Jesus Christ in this world using the readings for today.
Barnabas, the Apostle we are celebrating today is described in Acts as, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord” because of his work (Acts 11:24). We also note that, among his good deeds, was the fact that he took Paul — who once upon a time had been one of the major persecutors of the Church — as his partner on his first missionary journey. We know that some authorities interpret the name Barnabas as “son of encouragement”. We see this happening so well in his work.
The reading from Job exposes to us what a good person does. We hear Job saying that his good reputation precedes him; he helps the poor and orphans who cry out to him; those in deepest misery and widows were assisted by him; he always acts justly and fairly; he is the eyes for the blind and feet for the lame; he is also a father to the poor and pleads the cause of strangers who might find themselves in trouble. (Job 29: 11-16).
In the gospel, the new commandment is advanced: “Love one another! The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them.” (John 15:12ff). Please note that Jesus did not just say these good things about love. He actually proceeded to demonstrate what this could involve. Words and deeds do not always match, and we need to guard against this. Loving one another is the greatest sermon we could preach to challenge our hating world. That love must be practical and not just theoretical like we are so used to witnessing today, within the Church and outside. One wonders whether the word love is not one of the most abused of all. All Christians seem to take it for granted and yet what our Lord teaches about it goes far deeper than we could imagine.
On the feast of St Barnabas, we need to ask ourselves the following sincere questions:
1. What is our understanding of being good Christians in the fashion of St Barnabas? What do you think was key to the partnership of Barnabas and Paul?
2. The story of Job was written many centuries before Jesus Christ. Please may you read again the passage given today: How does our own faith in God compare with what is being said here?
3. Given all the good sermons we have ever listened to in our lives, why is it that we do not see much change for the better in the world? What is it that we are doing wrong as Christians in the world? Why was Christ emphasising the issue of Love in his parting words?
To God be the glory. Amen.