Thursday, June 11, 1998
First Reading: Acts 11: 21-26; 13: 1-3
Psalms: Psalms 98: 1-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5: 20-26
SAINT BARNABAS, APOSTLE
Though not one of the original Apostles, Saint Barnabas is considered an Apostle of the early Church. He is the Apostle of Antioch and the one who introduced Saint Paul to the Apostles, convincing them this man who was Saul was now fully in the Christian camp and could do great things for helping spread the new faith. Together Paul and Barnabas went to Antioch where we see in Acts 11:26 the followers of Christ were first called "Christians." Barnabas accompanied Paul to many places, first Cyprus and later to Asia Minor. Though the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews is attributed to Paul, many believe it was written and conceived by Barnabas through his close association with the missionary apostle Paul. In order to be with his cousin John Mark, Barnabas parted company with Paul on their second journey and returned to Cyprus, taking an active participation in the Council of Jerusalem and played a major role in settling the dispute between Jewish converts and Gentile converts regarding Jewish law and its observance in the text of the new faith. Barnabas, like Paul, was a Jew who was born a Levite in Cyrus. Originally he was named Joseph as mentioned in Acts 4: 36. It was back in his homeland of Cyprus that Barnabas was stoned to death, becoming a martyr for his faith in the city of Salamis around the year 60 AD.