Memorial of Saint Barnabas – Acts 11:21-26,13:1-3; Matthew 10:7-13

The tomb of Barnabas

Barnabas . . . I don’t know what sort of a man he was. But as Luke sketched him out in Acts of the Apostles, he was exceptionally righteous and noble. When in Antioch he saw the work of God’s grace and it “pleased him, and he urged them all to be faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion”. He was pleased. He didn’t say that everything done up to now sucks and they needed to start from the beginning again – or at the least, a thorough shake up.

What then? He came across Paul in Tarsus. The one – whom it might seem – had been side lined. Paul was not an Apostle; he was not one of the original disciples. At that time, he was a nobody. Oh yes, he was a converted persecutor of Christians. But Barnabas did not pay any attention to his rank or status. When he saw that Paul would be an asset to the young Church in Antioch, he eagerly reached out to him for his talents . . .

Remember when he then had a disagreement with Paul: it was about Mark, who at one time became scared of what awaited them on their journey. Once again, he showed generosity. And again, it paid off. Mark later wrote the first Gospel.

Teach me, Saint Barnabas, teach me. Teach me not to succumb to ambition, and to always put the good of the Church and the Gospel first . . .

Thank You God for Saint Barnabas. For his proper hierarchy of values, his humility, his openness to others and the ability to draw them from deep within the ranks to be among the first. I don’t really know exactly how, but I’d like to be like him . . . and, Lord, forgive me for praying that our leaders also be granted the grace of the qualities of Saint Barnabas.