Priest remembers ‘forgotten’ apostle

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PARAÑAQUE City, June 13, 2014—Wednesday, June 11, was the feast day of St. Barnabas.

Although now a mostly forgotten apostle, not being one of the original twelve, his influence on the then emerging Christian Church could not be dismissed, says a priest.

Redemptorist priest Victorino Cueto felt it his duty to tell devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help of the saint’s greatness.

“Let us be like St. Barnabas. Like him, we must not hesitate to render the Lord His rightful due, even if this may mean sacrifice,” he said in Filipino.

“St. Barnabas was a martyr who had zealously helped spread the Good News of Christ …He laid down his life for God,” he shared.

Little is known of his death, except that he was either burned or stoned to death by enemies of the Church in Cyprus.

Cueto explained that while the “age of martyrs” is relatively over, ordinary Christians can imitate St. Barnabas by becoming in their lives everyday witnesses to the faith.

A Levite from Cyprus, he was one of the first teachers of the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1).

St. Barnabas was instrumental in introducing his associate, Paul, to the first apostles, who were at first reluctant to accept into their circle a former persecutor of Christians (Acts 9:27).

Originally called Joseph, he was renamed “Barnabas”, meaning “son of encouragement”, after selling his properties and donating the proceeds to the Christian cause (Acts 4:36-37).

The passage reads, “There was a certain Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, to whom the Apostles gave the name ‘Barnabas’. He sold a farm that he owned and made a donation of the money, laying it at the Apostles’ feet.”

Barnabas is the patron saint of Antioch and Cyprus. (Raymond A. Sebastián)


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