The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Acts 22:3-16, Mk 16:15-18. As we celebrate the Conversion of Paul, let us be willing to show our willingness to witness to Jesus by our actions and words. Christians tend to think of Paul as one who rejected Jewish faith and embraced Christianity. Jews nation denounced him for the same reason as well and considered him a traitor. Paul was “called rather than converted.” Born as a Jew, Paul remains and dies a Jew. As a strict Jew, Pharisee, follower of Gamaliel and famous rabbi, Saul was brought up with the concept of being a faithful believer in one God. Saul was so convinced of his ways that he mounted a crusade to put an end to the people of the Way. It was while he was on this crusade to extinguish the early Christians in Damascus that he was enlightened – he saw the light. This testimony begins in today’s first reading: “I am (not ‘was’) a Jew…” Before the “experience” he saw only differences between peoples and sought to eliminate the ‘other.’ After the “experience” he saw the continuity and oneness of all and seeks to build bridges.
Thus, Paul’s conversion is truly a vocation to live continuity and inclusiveness rather than rejection of one for the other. The need of the world and individual lives, is to arrive at such conversion that seeks to build bridges rather than walls. Throughout the history of Christianity and the Church, there had been many other great saints who were once great sinners. What matters is that, everyone of them atoned from their sins and turned away from their evil ways, embracing the Lord wholeheartedly and served Him, becoming great beacons and witnesses of His light and truth. In today's Gospel, Jesus commissioned His disciples to go forth to the world and proclaim the Good News. He called on many to follow Him and be His witnesses, so that many people may come to believe in Him. He calls us to embrace His truth and show that same truth to others by our own life and dedication. Paul committed his life to follow the Lord in this way, in giving his life to serve the Lord and abandoned all the prospects and good life he once had earlier.
May the Lord guide our steps and make us worthy vessel of God! Amen!! Good morning, have a pleasant day!!!