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Jacob Boddicker S.J.Jun 11, 2024 12:00:00 AM1 min read

11 June 2024

Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle

St. Barnabas was a friend and companion of St. Paul; we first hear about him in Acts 4:36, when it is noted that he sold a piece of property and gave the money to the apostles. When the newly-converted Saul comes to Jerusalem, the Christians are—rightly so—afraid of him, and so we read that Barnabas (whose name means “son of encouragement”) took charge of him and vouched for his transformation in Christ. He would find himself, after the death of St. Paul, preaching in Cyprus, and earning the envy of the local Jewish community because of his missionary success, was stoned to death and quietly buried by his helper, John Mark, who may or may not have been St. Mark, the author of the Gospel that shares his name.

How was St. Barnabas such a successful missionary? Perhaps he was indeed a good preacher, but when we see how he is first introduced in Scripture, we do not hear what he says but we see how he lives. He is a light in the world—a bright light indeed for St. Paul—and the salt of the earth. When we look out into the world and we see so much darkness, and the culture around us seems so bland, we who are baptized into Christ, who are given the Holy Spirit and His Seven Gifts, who receive Christ within ourselves at every Holy Communion have no reason to despair or wonder why that darkness exists, why our culture can be so dull and dissatisfying. If the world around you is dark it is because you have yet to shine; if it is bland it is because you have yet to season it. Be not afraid!