10th Week, Tuesday, June 11; Saint Barnabas, Apostle

10th Week, Tuesday, June 11

1 Kings 17:7-16 / Matthew 5:13-16 

A poor widow feeds Elijah: Her faith and generosity were rewarded.

 The story of the widow in today’s reading must have made a deep impression on Jesus. He referred to it in the very first sermon he preached in his hometown of Nazareth. (Luke 5:25-26)

It’s easy to see why the story would have made a deep impression on him. It’s a beautiful tale of faith and generosity. The widow gave away what she had every right to keep. She gave away that which stood between her and starvation. Moreover, the widow gave it away because she trusted Elijah. She believed him when he told her not to worry because God would provide for her.


How trusting are we when it comes to other people—and God? “The man who trusts other men will make fewer mistakes than the one who distrusts them” Ardis Whitman


The ways of the Lord are indeed wonderful and marvellous to see. Yet for the rich and secure, for those who had no dire need, the ways of the Lord are hidden from them. But for the poor and the lowly and the needy, the Lord shows them signs and wonders.

 The 1st reading shows us how the Lord takes care and provides for those who obey Him and trust in Him. In a dire situation like a famine, the widow could have cared less about Elijah, and just go on with her last meal with her son and then wait for death. Nobody would have bothered about hospitality or concern for neighbour. It was each for for his own survival; so it was then, and so it is now. But the widow obeyed the voice of the Lord and, putting her life and the life of her son and their needs aside, attended to Elijah.

 Hence to be the salt and light that Jesus was talking about in the gospel, we have to learn from the wonderful and marvellous example of the nameless widow of the 1st reading. We need to be lowly and ordinary like the salt, and yet humble even when we are shining like the light. Only then will we see the wonders and the marvellous works of the Lord.



To show how great Elijah was as a prophet, the Elijah cycle in the book of Kings shows how he rewarded the widow by seeing to it that she did not suffer from the lack of food during the famine. Later he will restore her son to life.
During the communist regime in Poland, only a dozen or so Catholic secondary schools for girls remained under the direction of religious sisters. They had to follow the state program without any religion. When asked whether there was still any sense in their work, a sister directress answered: “We stay with the girls, we are a presence among them. If we try to be good Christians, we automatically let the light shine. Light is its own proof. One has not to talk about it.” Her words echo those of Christ in the gospel. A Christian has not necessarily to preach from a pulpit. Authentic Christian living is a proclamation all by itself.

Penitential Rite:

-As you feed and protect us in our depravity and poverty, as you did to Elijah, LHM

-As you call us to share even out of our poverty as you made the widow of Zarephath do, CHM

-As you call us to become the salt and light of the world, LHM

Opening Prayer

Lord our God, your Son asks of every disciple to be the salt and the light of the world. Season our lives and words with the salt of the gospel, that all those who encounter us may taste how good it is to live in your love and to work in joy and hope towards a world and a heaven of justice, peace and friendship. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.


When Elijah insisted on a part of the small quantity of food that the widow of Zarephath possessed, he is not unmindful of her own need. He assures her that in providing for him in his want, she will be amply provided for. She goes to fetch for him the water and cake requested, in the midst of a crippling drought that had left the land hard and dry. Initially she had denied his request. But when he assures her that the God of Israel will reward her generosity with an unfailing supply of oil and flour, she quickly complies. There are moments in life when we are called to step out in faith. It may be when the salt has become flat and the light dim. But in giving our “Yes” to God, his generosity will not be diminished. Christianity is not an esoteric faith, a set of beliefs destined only for the enlightened. It is to radiate throughout the world, and we are called to be its emissaries. At times it seems easier to hold on to our faith tenaciously and ignore our role in the world. But if the salt goes flat, it has no value. And if the light is encumbered and not placed on a lamp stand to be seen, it will never attract the human spirit. The widow gained biblical prominence because she gave of the little that she had. We become salt and light when we let God’s goodness show forth in our lives. It is always better to light one candle than to curse the darkness!

Points to Ponder

Sharing our little with confidence in God

Letting conviction show forth in what we do

Images of salt and light.

– That in the Church there may be men and women today who show us something of the face of God by their goodness and concern for the poor and the little people, we pray:
– That in our communities we may be like the salt that preserves among us a sense of service and commitment to one another, we pray:
– That we may not be blind to the needs of the poor and those suffering and help them carry their burdens, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Our God and Father, you give taste to our lives through the bread and wine of your Son, for they steep us in his love and faithfulness. Do not allow us to lose our savor but give it more vigor to use it to preserve in this world the goodness and dedicated love which you shown us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Prayer after Communion

God our Father, the words spoken by your Son have been a light on the path of life and his body our source of renewal. Do not allow us to hide the light of his self-forgetting, faithful love but let it shine in us, that people may see in us a reflection of his goodness and give praise to you, our God for ever and ever.
“I am the light of the world,” said Christ, and he says of us too: you are, you must be, the light of the world. Let your faith shine and inspire, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Saint Barnabas

Feast day June 11

We know nothing about St. Barnabas except what Scripture tells us. Luke says he was “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24 NJB). No one could ask for a better recommendation! The saint was born at Cyprus, a Jew of the tribe of Levi. His given name was Joseph, but the apostles called him Barnabas, which meant “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36 NJB). That nickname suited him to a tee, for everywhere he went he seems to have played a major supportive role in establishing the Christian community. For example, he sold his property and donated the money to the apostles for the poor.

Later the apostles sent him to care for the fledgling church at Antioch (Acts 11:20–22). He brought Paul from Tarsus to help him, and the community flourished under their leadership (Acts 11:25–26). Twice Barnabas and Paul traveled to Jerusalem on behalf of the church at Antioch (Acts 11:27–30; 15:2). He also accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey that began in Cyprus and circuited through Asia Minor (Acts 13:1–2, 7).

Before the next missionary journey, however, Paul and Barnabas quarreled over some personal and pastoral matters and decided to separate. Barnabas returned to Cyprus and evangelized the island. Paul’s later references to Barnabas in his letters indicate that the two apostles were ultimately reconciled (see 1 Corinthians 9:6; Colossians 4:10).

Early Christians attributed an epistle to Barnabas, but modern scholars say he probably did not write it. Legend also says he died at Salamis in 61.

There are two ways of doctrine and authority, one of light, and the other of darkness. But these two ways differ greatly. For over one are stationed the light-bringing angels of God, but the angels of Satan are over the other. This, then, is the way of light: Love God who created you. Glorify God who redeemed you from death. Be simple in heart, and rich in spirit. Hate doing anything unpleasing to God. Do not exalt yourself, but be of a lowly mind. Do not forsake the commandments of the Lord. Love your neighbor more than your own soul. Do not slay the child by procuring an abortion, nor destroy it after it is born. Receive your trials as good things. Do not hesitate to give without complaint. Confess your sins. This is the way of light. But the way of darkness is crooked and cursed, for it is the way of eternal death with punishment. In this way are the things that destroy the soul: idolatry, overconfidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, rape, haughtiness, transgressions, deceit, malice, avarice, and absence of any fear of God. Also in this way are those who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who do not attend to the widow and orphan, those who do not pity the needy, those who murder children, those who oppress the afflicted and are in every respect transgressors.



St. Paul owed very much to this missionary, for Barnabas involved Paul in his work among the Christians of Antioch, who were of pagan origin. Acts called Barnabas “a prophet and teacher” and “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.” He was an open spirit, convinced that if one had faith it was enough to let one become eligible to be a Christian. Inspired by the Spirit, the leaders of the community of Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas on their missionary mission.

Opening Prayer

Lord our God, prompted by the Holy Spirit, the church of Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas on their missionary mission among pagans. Let your Church everywhere send good, zealous men and women as missionaries. Fill them with the Holy Spirit and with faith, that they may touch the hearts of people and win them as disciples and friends of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord God, let the Eucharist of Jesus bring the light and life of your Son and his zeal to our communities everywhere to make them missionary by the way they live and to make Christ visible to people. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion

God of all people, at the celebration of St. Barnabas we pray: Make all your missionaries people of the Holy Spirit and of deep faith, that they may speak to the people you send them the words of life and joy of the Good News and cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those unclean and cast out evil. May they do so generously, without charge, for they have received from you without charge through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


A few days ago, Paul told us that Jesus was always “Yes,” yes to the Father’s will, yes and affirming to people, reliable. May we too, be trustworthy and reliable, in our faith, our friendship, our given word, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Potential Epitaph

What greater complement can one receive on this side of life than what the Book of Acts says of Barnabas: “He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith”! The Holy Spirit set apart Barnabas and Paul to bring the Good News to the gentiles. The very name ‘Barnabas’ meant “son of encouragement” or “son of consolation.” What else is the Good News other than the announcement of God’s consolation and encouragement, the Gospel of our adoption and redemption? It is all about healing the sicknesses of our souls bringing us back to a life of hope, cleansing us from all that make us impure, and driving out our internal demons of fear, hatred, and violence. Barnabas did justice to the Gospel mandate by his very name and ministry. Will the Lukan description of Barnabas be a fitting epitaph for you, when you have run your race on this side of life?