Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

 The dramatic retelling of Paul’s conversion is found in today’s first reading. We are familiar with the story of Saul, a man who fervently led the persecution of Christians.  He was knocked down on the road (there is no horse mentioned though most painters of the scene include a horse) by the action of God and he realized the error of his ways.

 Although the readings talk about the conversion of Paul we need to read between the lines and presume the conversion of those people who mistrusted Saul and saw him as the enemy. God not only called Saul to a new way of looking at things but those who were persecuted by him as well. And then in turn the converted Saul, now Paul, preaches a message of the universal call of Christ to all, not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well.

The conversion of Paul recalls many fundamental conversions but at the root of all these conversions we find openness to the will of God. We may not be knocked over by the presence of God as was Saul, but we may be called to change some behavior or attitude that is keeping us from witnessing  that presence to ourselves and to others.

January 25th, 2014