Go, and proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, cleanse the lepers, and drive out demons. Freely have you received, freely give. Do not carry any gold or silver or money in your purses. Do not take a traveling bag, or an extra shirt, or sandals, or a walking stick: workers deserve to be compensated.
When you come to a town or a village, look for a worthy person, and stay there until you leave.
When you enter the house, wish it peace. If the people are worthy people, your peace will rest on them; if they are not worthy people, your blessing will come back to you.
There are people who talk a lot, who like to take the front of the stage, who have a commanding presence in any group and, in general, who always manage to attract attention. But oftentimes these omnipresent figures are more “sound and fury” than anything else. They do not achieve much in reality, when you look closely at them. But there are other people who are the exact opposite. They are the “strong and silent type” (à la John Wayne in the movie “The Quiet Man”). You rarely hear them talk, but they are supremely efficient.
Barnabas, the apostle we are remembering today, seems to have been this second type of man. He is mentioned 28 times in the New Testament, yet he does not speak once (in Acts 13:46 it is obviously Paul who speaks for both of them). But he is supremely active. And, perhaps more importantly, he is an enabler, namely, he has a special gift for discerning someone‘s potential and encouraging that someone to develop his potential (Barnabas means “the encouraging one” according to Acts 4:36). In today’s first reading we see him launching the apostle Paul on the latter’s career.
Are we more talkers than enablers? Or do we selflessly help people to develop their potential?
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