This week we celebrated the Feast Day of St. Barnabas.
As such, I took a little bit of time to reflect on what a important player Barnabas was in our Faith.
Surprisingly, it is not clear when Barnabas converted. Some think he was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified, and one of the 70 Disciples. Others believe he was converted sometime after Pentecost. He first appears to us in Acts, where he sells his land and gives the proceeds to the community.
What is very clear, however, is the courage and conviction he had. For example, he stood as sponsor for Paul after his conversion. This was no small task, considering that the Apostles must have been terrified of Saul, the man that passionately persecuted them. We all know what Paul and Barnabas went on to do for Christianity, but the brave task of believing in the converted Saul often gets overlooked.
Barnabas also had the courage, and forgiveness, to give John Mark a second chance. John Mark had left Paul and Barnabas during one of their journeys, and such actions must have upset Paul. But Barnabas was open to giving John Mark a reprieve - despite it leading to he and Paul going their separate ways. (Later, Paul spoke highly of John Mark, the man who is believed to have written one of our four Gospels.)
Of course, both of these acts are overshadowed by the courage Barnabas showed by preaching the Word in hostile and foreign environments.
Barnabas is believed to be martyred while preaching the Gospel, but remains a shining example for all Christians.
God Bless you.