Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle

Acts 11:21b-26, 13:1-3; Matthew 5:13-16

We first meet Barnabas in the fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.  He sells a field and gives the proceeds to the apostles for the needs of the community. 

We also hear that his name is Joseph.  The apostles give him the name Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.”  In today’s first reading, the apostles send him from Jerusalem to the young church in Antioch, where he becomes a co-worker with Paul in spreading the gospel and building the church.  In other words, they are missionaries.

Our readings today demonstrate how we can be like Barnabas, sons and daughters of encouragement: 

  1. We look for the grace and the work of God in other people.  That grace is there if we look for it. 
  2. We give thanks to God when we see that grace and we encourage each other “to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart.”
  3. We use the grace of God within us to become good men and women, “filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.”
  4. Responding to the call of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, we are “the salt of the earth,” people who add a good flavor to the gospel and make others hungry for the word of God and an experience of Jesus in their lives. 
  5. We are “the light of the world.” We reflect the true light, Jesus, in how we live.  We resist the forces of darkness, and we help others to walk on the way of salvation.

St. Barnabas the Apostle, pray for us!