Saint Barnabas Mission, an international community of men and women working towards peace and justice through ecumenism, extend prayers for good health and contentment to Pope Benedict XVI on his retirement. We also pray for the 117 Cardinals entering the Conclave to choose a new Pope. SBM proposes to the newly elected Pope to choose Barnabas for his name and patron.
Barnabas converted to Christianity in Jerusalem where he shared his wealth with the community. The apostles, so impressed with the sincerity and openness of this follower of Jesus, they changed his name from Joses to Barnabas, “Son of Encouragement.”
It was Barnabas who encouraged and believed in Paul despite the fact that the community in Jerusalem didn’t trust Paul. Barnabas chose Paul to partner with him in Antioch. As the Church in Antioch grew in faith and numbers, they commissioned Barnabas and Paul to set out on their first missionary journey.
Barnabas, the Bridge Builder was a strong advocate for the Gentile converts and bridged the divide between them and Jewish Christians. The stumbling block – whether the Gentiles needed to observe dietary laws and circumcision rites. The Council of Jerusalem, through the persuasion and compassion of Barnabas and Paul, was encouraged to compromise.
Barnabas encouraged John Mark to take on a second missionary trip after he deserted Barnabas and Paul on the first trip. That heartfelt outreach probably prompted the achievements of John Mark as gospel writer, leader in the Christian Church in Alexandria, Egypt, and important aid to Peter and to Paul.
Wouldn’t it be the time for a new Barnabas figure – one who lives simply, extends his heart to encourage people to believe in their own goodness, speaks to power against unfair economic and social systems, and builds bridges towards peace in the world? In this world of instant communication and dramatic innovation, we need a Pope immersed in the lives and concerns of God’s people to encourage and empower them. Saint Barnabas Mission promises to help the newly elected pope search for a new ministerial paradigm of service and bridge building.
For more information you may contact Robert Graf, Saint Barnabas Mission, Director of Communications at 304-728-2829 or Bishop Peter Paul Brennan at 516-485-0616. saintbarnabasmission.org
February 28, 2013