Memorial of Saint Barnabas, apostle
(Acts 11:21b-26.13:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12)
There is a simple description of St. Barnabas in the Spanish Language. He is a “santo varón”. Literally, the term means holy man, but it implies a more uncommon virtue. Barnabas fills the bill perfectly well. At the beginning of Acts he generously contributes to the community. In today’s second reading Barnabas rejoices when he encounters living faith in Antioch. He also shows courage in searching out Paul and zeal to go forth as a missionary. In an argument with Paul about Mark who once abandoned them, Barnabas shows a willingness to forgive.
Barnabas exemplifies the fourth of Jesus’ beatitudes in today’s gospel. He hungers and thirsts for righteousness. He wants to go beyond the letter of the law to embody its spirit of acting like God. He does not hanker to be rich or famous but to always do what is right. He would be a fine example for parents teaching their children Christian discipleship.
In truth Barnabas makes a worthy model for all of us. When we feel a desire to take an annual cruise or buy a luxury car, Barnabas teaches us simplicity. When we cannot find the time to visit a sick friend, Barnabas shows us how to go out of our way. When we have trouble enduring a difficult person, Barnabas demonstrates patient love.