acts 11:19-26; Ps. 87 All you nations praise the Lord; John 10:22-30
A few things about today's first reading. As we move through the season of Easter we are invited at Mass to enter into the life of the Early church. We experience the formation of the early church in the Holy Spirit, working throught he apsotles.
We also experience the kergyman, the preached message of the the Church to all the world, "Jesus is Risen, repent and believe in the gospel."
Today in chapter 11 if Acts of the Apostles we see a few things of importance for us today.
First, we read that "there were some Cypriots and cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak tot he Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus."
As we read the Acts of the Apostles, we come across the big guns in the early church, the likes of St. Peter, St. James, St. Paul, St. Barnabas. They carry a bulk of the load and get the bulk of the notoriety.
However, there are moments where others rise to the front as weel and are called out for their work in the vineyard.
These, however, remain nameless, as we just encuntered, "some were Cypriots and cyrenians."
The do not get named but they do get noticed for their good work. They were like Peter or Paul but nonetheless eseentail witnesses to the life of faith.
These nameles sones who bear witness and spread the message are a lot like most of us. We aren't on Tv or EWTN. We don't have our own network or radio show. Our names will not be household names across the country or even the globe, but nonetheless our witness is essential the work of the church and the spread of the faith.
We are ordinary. We won't get the notoriety. We will remain anonymous in light of the vastness of the world, but what we we do remains impactful.
We must be active where we are. Every city is Antioch for us, where those who follow christ are gathered and we call them Christians. It isn't our name that is important but his name.
Seconly we enocunter Barnabas. BArnabas' name means son of encouragement. What a nickname? Think of all the nicknames we have had or have given others. Could you think of another name more honorable than "son of encouragement."
Imagine goign through life known as the one who encourages others. What a way to preach the gospel.
Thridly, we read that ANtioch was the place where the name christians was given to those who followed Christ. We must rememeber that this nicknames wasn't a name of endearment. IT was a derrogatory term.
People would smirk as Christians walked by and say look at those "christ-folk." Christians were different. They didn't do things like everyone esle and this difference is what earned them the name of "Christian."
How great! We need to redisocver this difference. We need to reclaim our uniqueness. W eneed to choose to stand out and let people make fun of us. We have gotten to where we try to hard to be like everyone else and thus we lose our identity, we lose our mystique, we lose christ.
To follow chirst demands a that we can no longer just fit in and be like all the rest. we have to stand out, stand up, stand tall, be real.
The hand of the Lrod will be with us.
In the words of Barnabas to the Christians of Antioch, "remain faithful to theLord in firmness of heart."