St. Barnabas was really named Joseph. Barnabas was a nickname meaning "Son of encouragement." The Apostles called him that because he was so kind.

Today we honor Paul’s companion, St. Barnabas. He was introduced to us in Chapter Four of the Acts of the Apostles. Born in Cyprus, he was of the priestly tribe of Levi, and he owned property in Jerusalem. He was so complete in his faith in Jesus that he sold his property, turning the proceeds over to the Apostles.

Named Joseph by his parents, this man’s kindness to the needy was so obvious that the Apostles began calling him Barnabas, which literally means “Son of Encouragement.”

When the Apostles received the exceptional news that up in Antioch many Gentiles  were coming over to Jesus, they decided that Barnabas was the man to welcome them into the Faith.

Later on the church at Antioch was to send Barnabas and Paul off to spread the Gospel in Asia Minor. They took Barnabas’s nephew Mark with them, but Mark got homesick, and let them. Afterwards when Mark wanted to join them on their next missionary journey Paul and Barnabas split up over the dispute, with Paul having  nothing more to do with the young man, but kind Barnabas wanting to give him another chance.

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