You probably remember that, six weeks ago, we read from Acts, chapter 13, as part of our Easter-season Scripture reading at Mass. We heard the narration of Sts. Barnabas and Paul setting sail from Syria to begin their first missionary journey. We paused to venerate that beautiful and decisive moment.
That moment also led to the most comical episode in the New Testament. Barnabas and Saul eventually reached the pagan town of Lystra, in Asia Minor. Paul healed a crippled man who believed the Gospel. The townspeople then decided that Barnabas and Paul must be… the gods Zeus and Hermes. The priest prepared oxen to sacrifice to them.
“Men, why are you doing this?! We are human beings like you! We proclaim the good news that you should turn from your idols to the living God, Who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. Barnabas on two important points…
1) “Do not live entirely isolated, as if you were already justified, but gather instead to seek the common good together.”
2) “You shall not slay the child by procuring an abortion.”
St. Barnabas loved his native Cyprus. He returned there after his many journeys to see to the Christian education of his people. Barnabas lived to be an old man, but eventually enemies of his from Syria came to Cyprus and conspired to have him killed. Barnabas suffered martyrdom by stoning.
Pray for us, holy apostle Barnabas! Give us a share in your majestic humility and zeal for souls!