Day 332: Barnabas and Paul's Mission

Acts 11:1-18 The news of Peter’s reception of uncircumcised Gentiles into the Church raised harsh objections from those who had converted from Judaism, but when Peter retold his story, he convinced them that it was the will of God. The major point that won their approval was the fact that the Holy Spirit had descended upon the Gentiles.

Circumcision party: Christians who strongly opposed the Baptism of the uncircumcised. (CCC 60)

Ch 11:14 You and all your household: When men and women were converted and were baptized, they often asked that their entire household be baptized-spouses, children, extended family, and servants. Such households laid the foundation for the growth of Christianity. (CCC 747, 983-987, 1086)

Ch 11:17 The same gift: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles revealed that they were to be welcomed into the people of God on an equal basis with Jews. (CCC 747, 983-987, 1086)

Ch 11:19-30 Some of the Christian disciples who had fled Jerusalem during the persecutions had begun spreading the Gospel on their own in Gentile territory, even in Antioch, one of the largest cities of the world at the time. Barnabas, whom the Apostles sent to Antioch to govern the community, recruited Saul to Antioch to preach as well. Antioch would serve as a kind of home base for Paul in his later missionary endeavors. (CCC 767)

Ch 11:27 Charisms are granted to the faithful as needed to build up the body of Christ, and each of the faithful receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. (CCC 800, 951)

Ch 11:28-29 Historically, it is reported that famine did strike the region during this period of time. The disciples in Antioch took up a collection from the Church in Judea because charity is one of the hallmarks of the Christian Faith, and the Church calls both individuals and nations that are better off to tend to the needs of their neighbors. (CCC 1826)

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 Paul had preached to the Church at Corinth, but a significant number of its members were new converts and had not yet given up their inordinate carnal behavior. Christians have a responsibility to strive to nourish themselves with the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist. This capacity to be spiritual presupposes the determination to lead a chaste life. (CCC 1306-1310)

Ch 3:4-23 The factions in Corinth were a symptom indicating that the importance of Christ was obscured. Conversion and Christian growth is attributable to the grace of God and not those he chooses as his ministers. To identify oneself according to a particular teacher represents a failure to understand that teachers of the faith are merely God’s instruments. Each one teaches in the name of Christ, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 755-756, 2045)

Ch 3:6 Paul founded the Church in Corinth; Apollos came later to sustain it.

Ch 3:9-11 We become “God’s fellow workers” when we cooperate with his will. The Church is often referred to by the metaphor of an agricultural field, which is ready to grow crops and bear fruit, or a building, which must be carefully constructed on a solid foundation. (CCC 307, 755-756)

Ch 3:10-15 Paul compared the growth of the Church to the construction of a building, which must be built skillfully and with good materials. On Judgment Day, each person will be judged according to his or her good works and will be rewarded accordingly. Those who reject God’s grace by habitually failing to perform deeds of love inspired by faith bring judgment upon themselves. (CCC 679, 1041, 1059)

Ch 3:15 As through fire: Some whose works fall short of the requirements of the Gospel will still be saved but will undergo purification to become worthy of eternal life. Fire consumes flammable materials, but it also tests and refines metal so that it can be purified, reshaped, and perfected. The Church sees this verse as a reference to Purgatory in which the souls of those who died in God’s grace but have not reached the appropriate level of holiness will undergo a painful purification before entering Heaven. The Church’s teaching on Purgatory is based on Sacred Scripture and the immemorial tradition of both Jews and Christians of praying for the dead (cf. 2 Mc 12:39-45). (CCC 1030-1032, 1054, 1472, 1475)

Ch 3:16-17 God’s temple: In these verses, this signifies the body of any individual Christian due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 797, 2355)

Ch 4:1-7 A steward is a caretaker who has been entrusted with responsibilities by his master. As stewards of the Gospel, Apostles and teachers of the Gospel should not be praised on their own account, as was the case in the personality cults in Corinth. Paul and Apollos did not create or encourage these divisions, which resulted from a lack of spiritual maturity among the Corinthians. Bishops are stewards of the Gospel and the Sacraments left to the Church by Christ.

Mysteries of God: The truths God revealed by Christ contained in the Gospel message. Some tenets of the Christian Faith are considered mysteries since the light of human reason cannot grasp or understand them. (CCC 859, 1117, 1548)

Ch 4:5 At the Last Judgment, nothing will remain hidden; both good and sinful actions will be left for all to see. (CCC 678)

Ch 4:6 Learn by us...what is written: Paul cautioned against the faithful deriving their own interpretation of Scripture apart from the teaching of the Church. The preaching of the Apostles, found in the oral tradition, is reliable and complements and clarifies the written Word. (CCC 95, 126)

Ch 4:7 Because there is one God who created and sustains the universe, all that we are and all that we have-not only our possessions and surroundings but also our gifts and talents-were given to us by him. (CCC 224)

Ch 4:8-13 Sarcasm is used to make a parody of the pride and self-righteousness of some members of the faithful of Corinth.

Ch 4:14-21 Paul was a spiritual father to the faithful of Corinth, who through his ministry received new life in Christ. Later, Paul’s spiritual fatherhood was extended to Titus, Onesimus, and Timothy and a multitude of new Christians (cf. Ti 1:4; Phil 2:22; 1 Tm 1:2). The idea of spiritual fatherhood is retained in the Church today; the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught that priests are fathers and teachers of the faithful, and priests in many countries are traditionally addressed as “Father.” Some non-Catholics criticize the Catholic Church for this practice based on Matthew 23:9 (“call no man your father”). However, in light of 1 Corinthians 4:15 and many other references in the New Testament (e.g., Acts 3:13; 4:25; 7:2; Rom 4:16; 9:10; etc.), this view is a misinterpretation of Christ’s words and contrary to early Christian practices since the fatherhood of Christ’s ministers is a sharing in the fullness of God’s fatherhood. (CCC 8, 65, 1094)

Proverbs 27:24 With a view toward Heaven, Christ advised his followers not to store up earthly treasures (cf. Mt 6:19-21). Paul’s advice to Timothy is probably the inspiration for the popular cautionary wisdom, “You can’t take it with you” (cf. 1 Tm 6:7). (CCC 2053)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

  • God rewards the faith of Cornelius and his household with the gift of the Holy Spirit, after which Peter is compelled to baptize them.

  • Peter’s reference to “every nation” hints at what is soon to come, the Gospel going out to the entire world.

  • On his return to Jerusalem, Peter faces stiff criticism for eating with “uncircumcised men,” referring to Cornelius.

  • Peter explains how his God-given vision declared that “what God has cleansed you must not call common” (Acts 11:9) and describes how God gave Cornelius’ Gentile household and friends the “same gift” of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost, so how could he refuse baptism to those God had accepted?

  • Many, now recognizing God’s plan to bless all the nations of the world, praise God for opening the door of salvation and membership in God’s people to the Gentiles: “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18).

  • Thus, God directs Peter, in whom the Lord entrusted the leadership of his flock, to make a decision that is a turning point for Israel: Gentiles can enter into God’s people by baptism without having to be circumcised.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • If you’re using the Bible in a Year Reading Plan, you know that you are now on the second to last day on the second to last page!!


  • All these days are checked off!!

  • So we have um…

  • Peter had this incredible revelation

  • Cornelius

  • The whole thing we heard yesterday

  • And then today what do we have?

  • We have Peter reporting that God wants to send His Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles

  • There are folks who did not like this idea

  • IN FACT…

  • We can often forget, as modern day Christians, the thing that we have talked SO MANY TIMES for the past 300+ days

  • We talked about how Christianity IS NOT A NEW RELIGION


  • So all of those first Christians were Jews, every single one of them

  • We forget that because now there is this division between Judaism and Christianity

  • BUT…

  • That was not always the case

  • Here in Acts Ch 11, it reveals the heart of what is going to happen in the early Church

  • There is this disagreement

  • The question is going to come up in a day or two

  • Those Gentiles who are going to become Christians, do they first have to get circumcised and then received into the Church and then be Baptized?

  • That’s going to be a BIG BIG question in the next couple of days

  • BUT…

  • We see here even the fact that God has opened up his grace to the Gentiles is something that challenges the PRECONCEPTIONS of many many people

  • So Peter has to explain, “Here’s this vision I saw. Here is also the miracle that happened. These men and women, whom I preached to, the Holy Spirit came upon them. Remember when Jesus himself said, ‘John baptized you with water. I will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ THAT HAPPENED. I saw it.”


  • Because as we continue to grow and move forward, this is going to be a REALLY BIG DEAL

  • It’s going to stretch a lot of people

  • Now for the church in Antioch

  • Some are proclaiming to the Jews

  • BUT…

  • Also proclaiming to the Greeks

  • This is the FIRST PLACE that the disciples of Jesus were called CHRISTIANS (now you are ready for Jeopardy!! WE MISS YOU ALEX!!!😉)

  • Up to this point they were followers of The Way

  • They will still be called followers of The Way

  • AND YET…

  • In Antioch, we have our second snapshot of a guy named Barnabas

  • We heard about Barnabas before

  • He sold property and gave it to the Apostles

  • The name Barnabas means “son of encouragement”



  • Acts 11:23, “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad; and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.”

  • Barnabas and Paul are going to become co-workers as well

  • Fr. Mike might mention this a dozen times between now and the end of our 365 days

  • So Barnabas wasn’t his proper name, it was his nickname

  • So his NICKNAME meant “son of encouragement”

  • Fr. Mike loves this description

  • Can you imagine the Lord describing you in this way?


  • Imagine the Bible describing you, “She was a good woman, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. The person who was a son or daughter of encouragement.”

  • In Barnabas’ case, it makes so much sense that he and Paul would be traveling companions

  • Paul becomes known as The Apostle

  • You can imagine why Paul would need Barnabas with him

  • Paul is going to go out and spread the Gospel

  • He is going to be rejected A BUNCH


  • You just imagine how many days Paul tried to spread the Good News and was COMPLETELY REJECTED

  • If YOU were a Paul, you would ABSOLUTELY NEED a Barnabas in your life

  • If you’re the person who is getting out there and you are trying to proclaim God’s Word and you’re constantly being rejected, you NEED someone whose nickname is “son of encouragement”

  • You NEED someone in your life who is that cheerleader

  • You NEED someone…

  • SQUIRREL!! 🐿

  • You know, everyone has their role

  • Paul writes this so often

  • He talks about how not everybody has the same gifts in the Church

  • “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’”

  • “The foot cannot say to the head, ‘I don’t need you.’”

  • And Paul couldn’t say to Barnabas, “I don’t need you.”


  • Even if Barnabas isn’t the one who is going to be the main messenger, you have the fact that he is playing a very specific role

  • And the truth is that YOU have a SPECIFIC ROLE as well

  • YOU have a GIFT that the Lord NEEDS

  • He makes himself need us

  • He doesn’t really need us

  • BUT…

  • He humbles himself so much that he kind of puts himself in our mercy in so many ways because he trusts you and he desires to be known in this world through you and through me

  • Just because someone might not be The Apostle DOES NOT MEAN that they do not have a role

  • Maybe they are The Encourager

  • Maybe they are The Cheerleader

  • Hope that makes sense!

  • Fr. Mike mentioned yesterday that he was going to talk about Corinth and what it was like

  • Corinth was a cosmopolitan city and it was very diverse

  • There was a saying back in the day

  • “To live like a Corinthian” meant that you did not have good morals

  • It meant that you were willing to do ANYTHING to make a buck

  • You were willing to do ANYTHING when it came to sexual relations

  • Corinth was the CITY OF SIN back in the day

  • St. Paul goes there

  • Remember, he went to Athens first at the Areopagus aka Mars Hill

  • He had this philosophical argument about Jesus and then said, “You know what? When I go to Corinth, I will know NOTHING except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

  • He is going to this place where there are BAD HABITS

  • IN FACT…

  • There was a temple to the goddess Aphrodite in Corinth

  • Fr. Mike went there once

  • To the city of Corinth

  • They said, “Up on the hill, that’s where the temple of Aphrodite was.”

  • Fr. Mike doesn’t think that temple is there anymore

  • BUT…

  • Once upon a time...there was

  • So here’s what “going to church” in the temple of Aphrodite looked like

  • This is kind of PG-13 so keep that in mind

  • You would bring your sacrifice, whether it was a goat, ram, or lamb

  • There were three parts to a lot of these temples

  • The first part was where the sacrifice would be offered

  • The second part was where there was cultic prostitution

  • So the second part of your...again...loosely saying, “going to church”...go to this temple, offer the sacrifice, then have sexual relations with a temple prostitute

  • Then the third part was you would take part of the sacrifice and barbecue it at a restaurant behind the temple

  • So basically going to the temple area, offering the sacrifice, then cultic prostitution, then have dinner

  • It was one of those situations that there was something at the height of this in Corinth...temple of Aphrodite

  • Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of temple prostitutes there

  • Pope Benedict XVI wrote about this

  • He talked about how Nietzsche said that Christianity signaled the death of EROS

  • EROS is that love of desire

  • Remember there are four loves (can you name them? I bet you’re thinking this sounds kind of familiar and we learned about this earlier in the year. You are correct!! Go read Day 112: True Friendship in The Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher 😁)

  • And Nietzsche said that Christianity killed eros because he pointed to these cultic prostitutes and temple prostitution and the cult of Aphrodite/Venus

  • Pope Benedict XVI says, “Ok, if that was the death of eros, and that was a bad thing according to Nietzsche, let’s explain the full gamut of temple prostitution. That ok here are the people going to the temple to engage in this. (Is Pope Benedict still speaking? I can’t tell sometimes with Fr. Mike 😉)

  • Ok so eros for them, with the death and destruction of the temple of Aphrodite/Venus for them, that eros needed to be curtailed

  • BUT…

  • Pope Benedict says, “But what about the people who served the temple? What about those who were brought into prostitution for the sake of those people who were dedicated to the cult of Venus/Aphrodite? Yeah, for maybe some people who would show up to the temple and were free to leave, oh they had to have the death of eros. But for those who were stuck there, those who were essentially sex slaves, that did not signal the death of eros. What it signaled was the recognition that they are human beings made in God’s image and likeness and they did not deserve to be treated like this in any way, shape, or form.”

  • IN FACT…

  • It was the affirmation of THEIR dignity

  • Not just the dignity of those people who showed up at the temple of Aphrodite

  • BUT…

  • The dignity of those who were being FORCED to serve in that kind of situation, that kind of trap, that slavery

  • So this is the context in which St. Paul is writing to these people

  • There is dissension now

  • BUT…

  • In 1 Corinthians Ch 5, St. Paul is going to describe a very….

  • Well the subtitle is Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

  • Uh he is going to call out some folks for basically going back and living like Corinthians

  • BUT…

  • Today we have the dissension

  • Who is Apollos and who is Paul?

  • Paul is saying, “Listen, I laid a foundation. Apollos built on it. Now be careful, because you are building something too.”


  • Two quick things…

  • 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.”

  • Day is capitalized so it means DAY OF THE LORD

  • So we mentioned before the Doctrine of Purgatory

  • If you die in relationship with God, in friendship with God, then of course you are welcome into Heaven

  • You died in a State of Grace and that right relationship with God

  • AND YET…

  • At the same time 1 Corinthians kind of at least alludes to this notion that the Day of the Lord, which is the day that you stand before God, or the day of the Lord’s judgment, whether it is all at once or your particular judgment

  • That day will disclose how you LIVED

  • That day will disclose how you BUILT

  • 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “...because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

  • So the process of Purgatory is simply PURIFICATION (I bet you’re thinking we’ve learned about the Doctrine of Purgatory before...and you are of course CORRECT!! Go back and read Day 309: Praying for the Dead in The Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher 😁)

  • It’s that sense of, “Ok there are things in my life that CAN’T be in my life.”

  • Now there are GOOD THINGS in our lives and those give God glory

  • BUT…

  • There are some things that….ah

  • “I have created a life of straw and hay and that stuff needs to be burnt up in order to be able to enter into the fullness of God’s glory and simply radiate his glory back to him and live in his glory for all Eternity.”

  • Again, it doesn’t PROVE the reality of Purgatory

  • BUT…

  • It DOES point to the REALITY of a PROCESS OF PURIFICATION of some sort

  • I hope that makes sense

  • This isn’t meant to cause division between we Catholics and non-Catholics

  • This is meant to say, “We are all united on this. There is some degree of purification we ALL have to go through that St. Paul is talking about right now.”

  • So hopefully that is more UNIFYING than it is DIVIDING just because we see here is what God’s Word points out

  • Hopefully that makes sense!!

  • The last thing to point out…

  • Maybe it’s unifying but also it’s kind of a Catholic thing

  • There are so many INCREDIBLE things that St. Paul said today

  • BUT…

  • One of the things he said helps someone like Fr. Mike

  • Fr. Mike always says, “My name is Fr. Mike.”

  • And sometimes we have Christians who will say, “Jesus said, ‘Call no man your father.’”

  • And we already addressed that in the Gospel how Jesus ALSO said, “Call no one teacher.” and yet we do that anytime we call someone DOCTOR because that’s what the term DOCTOR means

  • PASTOR means SHEPHERD even though Jesus is the GOOD SHEPHERD

  • Here is St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:15, “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”

  • He even calls Timothy, “My beloved and faithful child in the Lord”

  • So Paul refers to HIMSELF as FATHER and he is NOT CONTRADICTING what Jesus taught us

  • Because Jesus was making clear that ULTIMATE FATHERHOOD comes from God the Father

  • THE ULTIMATE TEACHER is Jesus Christ Himself

  • THE ULTIMATE SHEPHERD is Jesus the Good Shepherd

  • We participate in God’s FATHERHOOD

  • We participate in God’s TEACHING

  • We participate in God’s SHEPHERDING

  • BUT…


  • BUT…

  • Here is St. Paul who is referring to himself as “father”

  • So hopefully if you ever have a tough time and are like, “Ok I like this podcast and everything, but I really hate that he calls himself Father Mike.”

  • Hopefully this helps a little bit because here is St. Paul referring to HIMSELF as FATHER!!

  • Fr. Mike doesn't’ say these things to cause division

  • He says them because hopefully we can hear these things and say, “OH OK! I see where Catholics get some of these things. I see where this isn’t contradicting Scripture. I see that we are more UNITED than we are DIVIDED.”

  • That is Fr. Mike’s prayer and hope

  • Hopefully YOU see it too

  • Hopefully you know that you are loved

  • Hopefully all of us who are Catholic or not Catholic that we just REJOICE in the fact that we get to be united in this way

  • Hopefully no one feels like Fr. Mike is speaking of them as a second-class Christian





  • And we continue to pray, “God, lead us closer and closer to you. Lead us closer and closer to your Church. Lead us closer and closer to the truth and the fullness of truth as revealed in Scripture, and in the Church, in Scripture and Tradition.”

  • MAN!! (OH MAN!!)





  • WHAT A DAY!!


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you so much. Thank you for the gift of Grace and thank you not only for the gift of your Grace, but also for the gift of your messengers. Peter and Paul and Barnabas, who we hear of today, we just ask you to please help us to live like them. Help us to continuously say yes to you and whatever it is you want to do in our lives, whatever it is that you want to do in this world, Lord God, we say yes. And we ask you to please help us to say yes to you and your will and your plan and to say yes to love with everything we have. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”