St. Barnabas,  martyr

Acts 11: 21b-26

The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.

And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Openness to God’s Grace

Have you ever sat around the kitchen or family room table with siblings or friends and gone through a photo album or film clips of your childhood. What wonderful and found memories are rekindled as we talk and recall the events and people we see.

For me, the Easter season’s first readings from the Acts of the Apostles give us the same chance to marvel and remember the early childhood of the Church. We are just past Pentecost and back to ordinary time, but today we go back to the story of the early Church because it is the memorial of St. Barnabas.

The Church in Jerusalem had sent Barnabas to Antioch because they were concerned that Greeks were being evangelized. Barnabas immediately saw the grace of God at work and affirmed the evangelization of the Gentiles.

This is the same message of inclusion and openness to God’s grace in our lives which I hear Pope Francis share with us these days.

As Ignatius said to Francis Xavier, “go forth and set the world on fire!”

—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.


Lord, let us be guided by the Holy Spirit. Allow him to speak to our hearts as he tell us that God is love. He is always waiting for us — a father who loves us like a real dad. Only the Holy Spirit can tell our hearts this.

—Pope Francis