Tomorrow the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle. St. Luke writes of him in Acts, “for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.” In the Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth.” From this we get the modern saying, “He/she is the salt of the earth,” meaning they’re a good person, filled with faith and God’s presence.”
When I think of a major public figure that fits this description, who happens to be an Apostle as well, I think of Pope Francis. Few could argue he is a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Not only that but like the Gospel, Pope Francis, in some very unconventional ways, is letting his light “shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Back to salt. It’s a preservative right? When meat is not preserved, what happens to it? It becomes rank, polluted, corrupted. Pope Francis has spoken frequently since being elected about the corruption of “spiritual worldliness”- about when disciples and apostles alike lose their taste and are “no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” In other words, when we become less like St. Barnabas and more like Judas (both Apostles mind you) we not only become rank and polluted but we risk corrupting others who may “eat of us” through their interactions with us.
None of us is Jesus. Nor do we have to be Judas. Via media- Let’s try to be like Pope Francis and St. Barnabas.
Thank you, Pope Francis, for being like St. Barnabas- “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.”