Today’s gospel puts before us the image of Jesus the True Vine. We are grafted into him by the sacraments, and we continue to draw life from him. As we prepare to celebrate the Eucharist, let us make some time in silence to allow ourselves to become aware of the life which flows into our lives.
I suspect Barnabas was probably a nickname. We might call him ‘the eternal optimist’. No one wants to go near Saul. Only Barnabas is prepared to take the risk, and takes him to meet the apostles. Later, Barnabas will be Paul’s companion on his first missionary journey. Paul could be a hard man to get along with: he broke even the patience of the eternal optimist when he refused to take Barnabas’ nervous nephew on the mission.
The past year has been a bleak time for the Church world-wide: the constant presence of the coronavirus infection, the many constraints on our daily lives that we have grown used to but probably still resent: how we shop, can we eat out with friends, how long will these dark days last?
I think such people are the Barnabases of our day, the men and women who are the eternal optimists. May the Lord help us to identify who they are, and give us listening ears and open hearts to understand what they have to say to us.
Canon Francis Brown