How happy are the poor in spirit
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven: this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’
The New American Bible
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
1716 The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven.
1717 The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.
The Desire For Happiness
1718 The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it:
We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated.
How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.
God alone satisfies.
1719 The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and live from it in faith.
1720 The New Testament uses several expressions to characterize the beatitude to which God calls man:
– the coming of the Kingdom of God; – the vision of God: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”
– entering into the joy of the Lord;
– entering into God’s rest:
There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has no end?
1721 God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us “partakers of the divine nature” and of eternal life. With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.
1722 Such beatitude surpasses the understanding and powers of man. It comes from an entirely free gift of God: whence it is called supernatural, as is the grace that disposes man to enter into the divine joy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” It is true, because of the greatness and inexpressible glory of God, that “man shall not see me and live,” for the Father cannot be grasped. But because of God’s love and goodness toward us, and because he can do all things, he goes so far as to grant those who love him the privilege of seeing him. . . . For “what is impossible for men is possible for God.”
1723 The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement – however beneficial it may be – such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love:
All bow down before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure respectability. . . . It is a homage resulting from a profound faith . . . that with wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol of the day and notoriety is a second. . . . Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world – it may be called “newspaper fame” – has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration.
1724 The Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the apostolic catechesis describe for us the paths that lead to the Kingdom of heaven. Sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we tread them, step by step, by everyday acts. By the working of the Word of Christ, we slowly bear fruit in the Church to the glory of God.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.
Cloud and darkness surround the Lord; justice and right are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes.
Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim God’s justice; all peoples see his glory.
All who serve idols are put to shame, who glory in worthless things; all gods bow down before you.
Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgments, O LORD.
You, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.
The LORD loves those who hate evil, protects the lives of the faithful, rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the just; gladness, for the honest of heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, you just, and praise his holy name.
Source: The New American Bible
Barnabas (English: bɑrnəbəs; Greek: Βαρνάβας), born Joseph, was an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They traveled together making more converts (c. 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50) Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the “God-fearing” Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia.
Barnabas’ story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. Clement of Alexandria and some scholars have ascribed the Epistle of Barnabas to him, but his authorship is disputed.
Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, in 61 AD. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.
Barnabas is usually identified as the cousin of Mark the Evangelist on the basis of Colossians 4. Infrequent occurrence in the Septuagint to its presence in Josephus and Philo, “anepsios” consistently carries the connotation of “cousin”. Some traditions hold that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.
Barnabas appears mainly in Acts, a history of the early Christian church. He also appears in several of Paul’s epistles.
Barnabas, a native of Cyprus and a Levite, is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem, who sold some land that he owned and gave the proceeds to the community (Acts 4:36-37). When the future Apostle Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas introduced him to the apostles (9:27). Easton, in his Bible Dictionary, supposes that they had been fellow students in the school of Gamaliel .
The successful preaching of Christianity at Antioch to non-Jews led the church at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to oversee the movement (Acts 11:20–22). He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul (still referred to as Saul), “an admirable colleague”, to assist him. Paul returned with him to Antioch and labored with him for a whole year (Acts 11:25–26). At the end of this period, the two were sent up to Jerusalem (44 AD) with contributions from the church at Antioch for the relief of the poorer Christians in Judea.
They returned to Antioch taking John Mark with them, the cousin or nephew of Barnabas. Later, they went to Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14). After recounting what the governor of Cyprus Sergius Paulus believed, Acts 13:9 speaks of Barnabas’s companion no longer as Saul, but as Paul, his Roman name, and generally refers to the two no longer as “Barnabas and Saul” as heretofore (11:30; 12:25; 13:2, 7), but as “Paul and Barnabas” (13:43, 46, 50; 14:20; 15:2, 22, 35). Only in 14:14 and 15:12-25 does Barnabas again occupy the first place, in the first passage with recollection of 14:12, in the last 2, because Barnabas stood in closer relation to the Jerusalem church than Paul. Paul appears as the more eloquent missionary (13:16; 14:8-9; 19-20), whence the Lystrans regarded him as Hermes and Barnabas as Zeus.The King James Version renders the Greek name “Zeus” by the Latin name “Jupiter” (14:12).
Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch, they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts 15:2; Galatians 2:1). According to Galatians 2:9-10, Barnabas was included with Paul in the agreement made between them, on the one hand, and James, Peter, and John, on the other, that the two former should in the future preach to the pagans, not forgetting the poor at Jerusalem. This matter having been settled, they returned again to Antioch, bringing the agreement of the council that Gentiles were to be admitted into the church without having to adopt Jewish practices.
After they had returned to Antioch from the Jerusalem council, they spent some time there (15:35). Peter came and associated freely there with the Gentiles, eating with them, until criticized for this by some disciples of James, as against Mosaic law. Upon their remonstrances, Peter yielded apparently through fear of displeasing them, and refused to eat any longer with the Gentiles. Barnabas followed his example. Paul considered that they “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” and upbraided them before the whole church (Galatians 2:11-15).
Paul then asked Barnabas to accompany him on another journey (15:36). Barnabas wished to take John Mark along, but Paul did not, as he had left them on the earlier journey (15:37-38). The dispute ended by Paul and Barnabas taking separate routes. Paul took Silas as his companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while Barnabas took John Mark to visit Cyprus (15:36-41). John Francis Fenlon suggests that Paul may have been somewhat influenced by the attitude recently taken by Barnabas, which might have proven prejudicial to their work.
Barnabas is not mentioned again in the Acts of the Apostles. However, Gal. 2:11-13 says, “And when Kephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews (also) acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.” Barnabas is also mentioned in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, in which it is mentioned that he and Paul funded their missions by working side jobs and (it is implied) went without wives and other benefits other apostles received (1 Cor. 9:6); Paul states that he and Barnabas forsook those benefits “that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:12).
Barnabas and Antioch
Antioch, the third-most important city of the Roman Empire, then the capital city of Syria province, today Antakya, Turkey, was where Christians were first called thus. Some of those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went to Antioch, which became the site of an early Christian community. A considerable minority of the Antioch church of Barnabas’s time belonged to the merchant class, and they provided support to the poorer Jerusalem church.
Council of Jerusalem
Barnabas participated in the Council of Jerusalem, which dealt with the admission of Gentiles into the Christian community, a crucial problem in early Christianity. Paul and Barnabas proposed that Gentiles be allowed into the community without being circumcised.
Church tradition developed outside of the canon of the New Testament describes the martyrdom of many saints, including the legend of the martyrdom of Barnabas. It relates that certain Jews coming to Syria and Salamis, where Barnabas was then preaching the gospel, being highly exasperated at his extraordinary success, fell upon him as he was disputing in the synagogue, dragged him out, and, after the most inhumane tortures, stoned him to death. His kinsman, John Mark, who was a spectator of this barbarous action, privately interred his body.
Although it is believed he was martyred of faith by being stoned, the Catholic-Apocryphal Acts of Barnabas states that he was bound with a rope by the neck, and then being dragged only to the site where he would be burned to death. This is highly unlikely since the apocryphal Acts states that his bones were burnt to dust and that relics of some of his bones are stored in a church today; on the other hand, the fire in the apocryphal Acts could have cremated only some of his bones.
According to the History of the Cyprus Church, in 478 Barnabas appeared in a dream to the Archbishop of Constantia (Salamis, Cyprus) Anthemios and revealed to him the place of his sepulchre beneath a carob-tree. The following day Anthemios found the tomb and inside it the remains of Barnabas with a manuscript of Matthew’s Gospel on his breast. Anthemios presented the Gospel to Emperor Zeno at Constantinople and received from him the privileges of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, that is, the purple cloak which the Greek Archbishop of Cyprus wears at festivals of the church, the imperial sceptre and the red ink with which he affixes his signature.
Anthemios then placed the venerable remains of Barnabas in a church which he founded near the tomb. Excavations near the site of a present-day church and monastery, have revealed an early church with two empty tombs, believed to be that of St. Barnabas and Anthemios.
St. Barnabas is venerated as the Patron Saint of Cyprus.