Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle
What do we mean when we say someone is “a good person”? Usually, it is some combination of kindness, positive attitude, and contentment with one’s self. Perhaps like the rich young man who calls Jesus “good,” we equate it with having decent sense and basically keeping the commandments. Today, however, we have a new standard of good–the apostle Barnabas. We hear in the first reading that when Barnabas arrived in Antioch, he “encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man.” Barnabas rejoices when he sees God at work, and encourages those around him to be faithful to Jesus, and so he is a good man.
The Christian life isn’t easy. We exist in a world that can be hard to bear, we live among people who can be hard to love,we are called to something that can be hard to imagine. Working alone, the Christian life isn’t just difficult, it is impossible. We need the grace of God and the encouragement of others. In turn, we need to rejoice whenever we find that grace, and help others as best we can to live out their own vocations. In today’s reading, Barnabas does just that. If we look around us, we can find many examples of grace to rejoice in. It also doesn’t take long to find people around who wish to be faithful to Jesus, but who need encouraging. Like Barnabas, we ought to rejoice at those moments of grace, and help others grow closer to Jesus. Doing this, we can measure up to the standard we see today of a good person.