To Become Persons of Encouragement


June 11, 2020 – Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle

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People who encourage others would always bring support and growth because encouragement nurtures confidence and hope. Parents who would give generous encouragements to their growing children would find children to be happier and lively. Teachers who would also express words of encouragements to their students would find them animated to perform well in their studies. 

This is also true among employers or corporate heads. A supervisor or manager who is generous in expressing encouragement to his/her workmates or colleagues or employees would surely find people around him or her to work confidently and competitively in a healthy way. Thus, a person who is being looked up by many as a leader and expresses words and actions that unite people, that heal division and reconcile differences, creates a space that bring people to work together. However, when a leader or any authority figure becomes vicious in his or her speech or acts unfaithfully from his or her duties, promises and words, then, he or she promotes unwarranted conflicts and stress to people.

Moreover, when words of encouragements are expressed whether at home, at school or at work, they lessen unnecessary stress, avoid unnecessary conflicts and rather promote self-confidence, trust and hope. 

This attitude of encouraging others had been shown to us through the person whose feast we celebrate today. St. Barnabas, an apostle, was a man of encouragement. During his lifetime, in his ministry, he never forgot to encourage people around him. In fact, it was through his encouragements, together with St. Paul, that they helped and nurtured the early Church to grow and to mature. It was in the Church of Antioch, through Barnabas too, that the Church realized that indeed, it is Catholic or universal in its nature. In Antioch, Jews and Gentiles lived together. Despite the differences in culture, language, and history, the Church became one in faith but so dynamic and vibrant in living together as Christians. 

It was in Antioch also, that we, believers of Jesus, were first known as “Christians.” Thanks to that attitude of Barnabas because his encouragements to the first Christians made them confident in living together and become reconciled with one another. In fact, the name Barnabas means, “the son of encouragement.”

The Acts of the Apostles reminds us of the attitude of Barnabas that he was “a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith (Acts 11:24).” This tells us that when we welcome and allow the Holy Spirit to satisfy us, then, we also become discerning on how the Holy Spirit works in the life of those people around us. Certainly, we become familiar to the movements of the Spirit and become welcoming to God’s invitations for us.

This calls us now to become welcoming of others. We shall surely see more opportunities of growth and rooms for developments for ourselves and for those people around us. Accordingly, we see more value in expressing encouragement rather than in blurting out destructive criticisms that may only damage one’s self-confidence and the hope to redeem oneself after a failure. We also see more value in expressing encouragement rather than in making threats that would incite violence and indifference toward others.

Thus, on this feast of Barnabas, each of us is being reminded and called to be more welcoming of the Holy Spirit in our life so that our hearts and minds will be filled with wisdom, understanding and compassion particularly in these trying times where this pandemic has caused so much stress and anxiety in our life. 

We may  become then, persons of encouragements that promote growth, confidence, trust and hope in our own context; whether at home, at work, or wherever we are called to be. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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