St. Barnabas

Friends in Christ, Today is the feast of St. Barnabas.
Barnabas is called an apostle, but he is actually not one of the original 12. His full name is Joseph Barnabas; he was a Greek-speaking Jew, born on the island of Cyprus. He became a Catholic soon after the death of Christ in the original community at Jerusalem.
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As we read in Acts of the Apostles, he was so committed to the Faith, that he sold the property he owned and gave it to the Church.
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Now when St. Paul had just converted to the Faith, no one trusted him because he had been a persecutor of Christians. The Jews saw him as a traitor, and the Christians thought his conversion was a trick. Only one man understood him, and that was Barnabas. Barnabas was a very gentle and patient man, and because of his special gift of being able to sympathize with others, he was called the ‘Son of Consolation.’
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It was Barnabas, perhaps the most lovable of all the persons of the early church, who had looked kindly on this lonely brother Paul, and saw the soul of a great apostle. It was Barnabas who stretched out his friendly hand to Paul, and introduced him to Peter and James.’
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Paul and Barnabas soon went about converting the city of Antioch to the Faith. In about the year 48, Barnabas accompanied Paul on the 1st great missionary journey. In Lystra, the people were so impressed with the miracles they saw, that they called Barnabas a god; they thought he was the god Jupiter, probably because he was such a big person.
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St. Dorotheus says that Barnabas first preached in Rome, and became the bishop of Milan, Italy. He preached the gospel with Mark in Cyprus, and took with him the Gospel written by St. Matthew; he would often hold the Gospel over sick people, by which they were cured.
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One day, Barnabas saw nude men and women involved in a pagan feast, and so he cursed their temple; immediately a part of it fell in and crushed them, and it was there that the people put a rope around his neck, and dragged him out of the city to be burned alive.
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They put his bones in a leaden urn, intending to cast it into the sea; but St. Mark in the middle of the night, took the bones and buried them secretly in a crypt.[i]
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In a letter that St Barnabas wrote, he says: ‘The Lord was ready to undergo suffering for our soul’s sake, even though he is Lord of the whole earth; having thus renewed us by forgiving our sins, he refashioned us and gave us the souls of children.’ 

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[i] They remained there until the year 500, until Barnabas himself appeared to a man to reveal their location.

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