One day I got a call from my good friend Justin Fatica. He started the conversation off with “Traeger…. you are like the great encourager”. It kind of caught me off guard and I asked him why. He said it’s because I am like St. Barnabas encouraging St. Paul and others. I thought a little bit and then it came to me. I said, Justin, do you know what my confirmation name is? Of course he didn’t. So I told him what it is…… Barnabas!

We all need encouragement. On our path to helping others, the greatest danger they face after making a commitment to change and becoming more virtuous is falling through the cracks and slipping back to their old ways. We need to stay with them. We need to stay at their side. We need to continually encourage them.

St. Paul had someone like that in the form of an unsung hero named Barnabas. When St. Paul returned to Jerusalem after his encounter with Christ on the Damascus road, the apostles didn’t believe he was converted. But in Acts 9 we read, “Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Paul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Paul. He also told them that Paul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus”. Barnabas was not afraid to put it on the line and backed up Paul’s story.

A lot of people say they want to be an apostle Paul, but who will be a Barnabas?