The name Barnabas means “one who encourages.” It is only right then that he would be the one going to Antioch, sharing the grace of God and rejoicing and encouraging the newly-formed Christian community.
This is an encouraging part of Easter life. We are to support and help one another grow together in that special community with God and the Body of Christ. We do this with the neophytes, recently baptized, confirmed, and Eucharistized into our faith.
With this special communion and theological relationship, we hear the master Shepherd’s voice and strive eagerly to grow in this communion of unity and oneness with God and each other. We encourage and support others because this was the mission of Christ, who, at this point of John’s Gospel, is encouraging and supporting us toward eternal life. Christ does this, shows this, and shares this because of the oneness represented in the Trinity.
Gifted people, saints like Damien, witness to making us one and encouraging those with illness and disease. They make us feel like we are part of a community and part of God’s goodness. Damien had his own personal and religious life leadership struggles still heard the vocational call to serve from the Shepherd. Through the luck of the draw, he was chosen to become a missionary, his life-long dream, to serve those Hawai’i who needed the personal care and encouragement of Christ. Like Damien, we, too, may never know when we have the chance to take another person’s place and be that force of grace and encouragement to others, assisting them in knowing eternal life.
Today, who may I encourage and reach anyone who has felt isolated and alone from the community of faith due to dis-ease or some other feeling of separation? May our touch encourage and make them feel close to the Shepherd.
Let Us Pray:
Lord God, help us remember that we have to recognize those who are open to listening and those not. Help us encourage and be like the gentle Shepherd, who leads and guides all to your healing presence. May we strengthen one another in the faith and walk together to the joys of eternal life. Amen.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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