Wednesday, June 11, 2008

St. Barnabas

Today is the feast of a saint I have liked ever since I was an evangelical. I love to encourage people, and I love to be encouraged. The book of Acts talks about St. Barnabas (his name was actually Joseph, but the Apostles gave him the name which means "Son of Encouragement") having sold a field and laying the money at the Apostles' feet. Then Barnabas is the one who has the guts to accept Paul at his word when he tries to come to Jerusalem and join the Christian community there. He brought Paul to the Apostles in Jerusalem, telling them the story of his conversion.

Then later, when the Jerusalem community is scattered after the stoning of Stephen, Barnabas is sent to Antioch to shepherd the Greeks who have accepted the gospel of Christ. He exhorts them the best he can but ultimately decides he needs more help, so he goes to Tarsus and brings Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, back to Antioch. That is where believers were first called Christians.

Apparently somewhere in there, Barnabas was anointed and proclaimed an apostle, because the Church now celebrates him as such. Paul and Barnabas seem inseperable, risking their lives to preach the gospel all over Asia Minor. But then they have a disagreement over a fellow apostle called John Mark who apparently deserted the crew earlier and Paul and Barnabas end up parting ways over it. Barnabas goes off to the island of Cyprus where he was apparently born and we don't hear of him in the book of Acts. The Catholic Encyclopedia has more about him here.

I always think about how important it is to encourage one another, as we so easily lose hope in this life. I can't fathom where I would be without the encouragement of my wife, my family and my co-workers who share my faith.


Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

I don't know where I'd be without the support of my fellow Catholic bloggers!

3:13 PM  

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