Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Conversion of Saint Paul

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: "They showed us unusual kindness"

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 7:1-4 Humility
Mass: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Resp Ps 117; Mk 16:15-18

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.


It's a busy day with the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated this evening at the Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls, during Second Vespers for the Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul. I was there in 2014, with a front row seat! 

There is time to look to Paul, Ananias, and the Eleven for inspiration. In today's account from the Acts of the Apostles, Saul, yet to be called Paul, is still "breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1). Saul is hunting for "any men or women who belonged to the Way," so "he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains" (Acts 9:2). By the end of the story, Saul proclaims "Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God" (Acts 9:20). What affects me most in today's reading is the middle of the story and the intercession of Ananias. Ananias, with open ears and an open heart, listens to the voice of the Lord who called him by name. "Ananias … Here I am, Lord" (Acts 9:10). After he receives the Lord's instructions, Ananias questions. Are you sure, Lord? Saul is the one who is doing evil things to your holy ones in Jerusalem (Acts 9:13). Go, the Lord tells Ananias, "for this man is a chosen instrument of mine" (Acts 9:15). So Ananias goes on his mission (Acts 9:17). The result? "Immediately things like scales fell from Saul's eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength" (Acts 9:18-19).
Dear Ananias, intercede for us too. Help us to be so courageous, to trust in God and do His will. 

Each one of us, in our own way, united in faith and praying for the grace to day by day grow stronger, go out into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Just say "Yes" to extending unusual acts of kindness. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere!


© Gertrude Feick 2020

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