.- In today's general audience Benedict XVI resumed his catechesis on outstanding figures of the early Church, concentrating on the three principal collaborators of St. Paul: Barnabas, Silas and Apollos. The Holy Father pointed out for the six thousand people gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the example St. Paul provides for Christian collaboration in the field of ministry as well as for the necessity of continuous conversion, since “Sanctity grows in the capacity for conversion and penance.”
The Holy Father also recalled how Barnabas had participated in the Council of Jerusalem, at which it was decided "to distinguish the practice of circumcision from Christian identity."
However, he noted, Paul and Barnabas "fell into disagreement at the beginning of the second missionary journey because Barnabas wanted to bring along the young John Mark, and Paul did not."
"Paul expresses appreciation for Apollos activities but reprimands the Corinthians for being divided. He draws an important lesson from the whole affair: Both I and Apollos, he writes, are no more ... than simple ministers, through whom you have come to the faith. All have different tasks in the field of the Lord."
The Holy Father concluded: "These words are still valid for everyone today, for Popes, for cardinals, bishops, priests and lay people. We are all humble ministers of Jesus. We serve the Gospel to the extent that we can, according to our gifts, and we pray to God that He may make His Gospel and His Church grow today."