Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven. (Mt 5:10-12a)
Today is the Feast of St. Barnabas. Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew who became an ardent Christian and traveled with St. Paul, proclaiming the Gospel to the Gentiles with such fervor that he won many of them over to Christianity.
As he was a companion of Paul, Barnabas knew not only the joy of proclaiming the Good News, he also knew the persecution that came with it.
Jesus did not promise an easy life here on earth. He let His followers know that they would face hardships in this life but that, if they endured, they would gain everlasting life.
Barnabas was one of the many who clung to that promise.
He was martyred around the year 61, most likely by being stoned to death, though the manner of his death is not certain.
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” I guess, if I had to choose, I would take an eternal reward over a temporal reward any day of the week!
FAITH ACTION: Are you persecuted because of the faith? Hold firm. Do you know someone who is being persecuted because of the faith? Do all that you can to encourage that person.