On Saturday we celebrate the feast of St. Barnabas. He is called an ‘Apostle’ though he was not one of the original twelve chosen by Christ himself. He is described in the Acts of the Apostles as ‘a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith’. He vouched for the trustworthiness of the recently converted Paul. And with Paul he was sent off on the first missionary journey that the infant church undertook. Part of that journey encompassed Cyprus and the church there claims its descent from him. He is reckoned to have suffered a martyr’s death at Salamis, a port on the island of Cyprus.
Barnabas teaches us a great deal. He shows how the early church was keen to call others into what we now call ‘holy orders’, so that the Apostolic preaching and teaching could be continued. He also shows us that the early church realised that it has a divine calling to spread the word. Finally, he shows us that following Christ can be costly to the point of giving up one’s life.
Let us ask Barnabas for his prayers for ourselves so that we too may be missionaries in our world today. And let us also ask his prayers for the people of Cyprus.