I don’t know when I first checked the settled date of ordination to priesthood and noticed it was Saint Barnabas day. I do know that I was heartened when I was reminded of the meaning of his name. He is the encourager, the one who gives courage to others. Barnabas is the son of encouragement.

At a significant moment in life like that, I (at least) recognize significance, meaning, in apparently simple, apparent coincidences like that. I wanted to take Barnabas as a patron from that day in 1983 always. I prayed that I and my friends ordained that day could be sources of encouragement for the people we would be blessed to meet and to serve over years to come. I prayed that we would be sources of encouragement to one another as well.

Today marks 39 years since that day of inaugurating a call to many things, ‘encouragement’ a good description of many of them. I know that I have failed to be a Barnabas much more readily and often than I have succeeded. Principally that has been due to a deafness and blindness in me, a lack of readiness to listen and a lack readiness to see the grace of God placing invitations to act as Barnabas would in front of me day after day all through the years.

I am grateful beyond words for the times I when I have readily listened and seen and responded. Most often what has been experienced in those moments has been mutual encouragement. As is so often rightly said, I have received more than I have given.

As this anniversary arrives, I think of the friends ordained June 11, 1983 who no longer live in this life, but have gone forth through the door of death. I give thanks for them. Among them are those whose words and deeds and friendship encouraged me more times than I could count. And that courage brought me to new places, new thresholds and new possibilities. My heart is full of gratitude tonight.

I’m grateful too that there are days remaining still to follow after Saint Barnabas. I cannot know the number of those days. They are fewer, of course, than those now past. I don’t know where they may be spent either. But I trust that they may be even richer in encouragement than the days gone by. This, of course, due to the enriching faithfulness of the One that we in 1983, and Barnabas 20 centuries before, agreed to serve with joy.


June 11, 2022

3 thoughts on “Barnabas

  1. Grateful for your love and remembrance of us and sharing in your ministry to us .

    Frank and Joan Landry

  2. May you celebrate many more feast days of St. Barnabas to continue your Encouraging and inspirational ministry.❤️🙏

  3. Thank you for a wonderful remembrance, John. Your ordination continues to be a source of grace and encouragement for so many.

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