Memorial of St. Barnabas, apostle
(Acts 11:21b-26.13:1-3; Matthew 5:17-19)
St. Barnabas may not be on any short list of patron saints for religion teachers, but he consummately fills the role. We might call him the prototypical catechist given that, besides Jesus, he seems to be the first teacher mentioned in the New Testament.
In the Acts of the Apostles Barnabas teaches by example as well as by words. In fact, his giving the total proceeds of the sale of his property to the community of disciples in Jerusalem has eloquently taught Christians generosity and commitment throughout the centuries. Today’s reading from Acts testifies how the Holy Spirit calls Barnabas from teaching to preaching as an apostle.
All of us can imitate Barnabas. We need to be generous with our belongings, caring of others in order to teach, and bold enough to proclaim Jesus in public. It is a tall order, but having been endowed with the Holy Spirit, we can do it.