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Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle

My dear encountered couples:

We celebrate today the feast of St. Barnabas, the Apostle. Barnabas was not one of the original twelve apostles, but considered to be among the seventy-two disciples sent forth by Jesus to learn how to preach the good news. He is spoken of often in the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, where he is found introducing St. Paul to the Apostles. An old tradition says he died a martyr in Cyprus. We find his name in the old canon of the Mass, the one we now call the 1st Eucharistic Prayer.

As Christians we are not only to strive for personal sanctification, we are also to strive for the sanctification of others. We are not only to see to it that we get into heaven, we are to be actively concerned about others getting there also. That is what Jesus means when he says, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” We become this by leading exemplary lives.

When we live Christ-like lives we are doing what salt does. As salt preserves food from corruption, we are helping to keep the world from corruption. As salt brings out the flavor of food and makes it more pleasant, we can add a little more flavor to dreary lives and bring to the world some of the joys of heaven.

But we most certainly are not to do good deeds and lead Christ-like lives so that we ourselves can be seen and praised; we are to lead exemplary lives so others can detect the goodness of God within us, and hopefully draw them to Christ. This is how Jesus explained it:

“Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.”

We are supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world — not just for our own personal salvation but to help in the salvation of others. It is both our right and our duty to do so.

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