SAINTS

JUNE 11: ST. BARNABAS

(c. 75)
You know that game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?”
One could easily play that with St. Barnabas. Though not one of the original Apostles, he was about as close as one could be to that.
Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus and it was he who introduced Paul to Peter and the other apostles. He was the official representative of the church in Antioch and together with Paul he taught and collected contributions there that were brought to the church of Jerusalem.
Paul and Barnabas were charged by the church of Antioch to preach to the Gentiles and became superstars after a miracle occurred at Lystra. Though the pagans began to think of them as gods, the pair famously said, “We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God” (Acts 14:8-18).
The biggest dust-up between the two charismatic preachers took place over Barnabas’ wish to include his cousin John Mark (later to become author of the Gospel) in their evangelical tours. Mark had previously left the pair on another occasion and Paul did not want any part of him a second time around. There was an acrimonious split in the former partners and Barnabas went to Cyprus with Mark, while Paul went to Syria with Silas.
Eventually, the three would bury the hatchet and make peace with one another. In fact, it was Barnabas who backed up Paul in his rebuke of Peter who refused to eat with the gentiles for the optics it would present to his Jewish friends (Galatians 2:1-13).
Adapted by A.J. Valentini from www.franciscanmedia.org