Thinking of our faith on the journey to Damascus
Reflections on the readings for the Day of Prayer for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25, 2019): ACTS 22:3-16; PS 117:1-2; MK 16:15-18
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we commemorate the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle.
On the road to Damascus Jesus spoke to Saul, as he was then known, out of a blinding light and his life was turned upside down. A dedicated Jew, Saul eagerly persecuted members of the early Church. He had even been present at the stoning of St. Stephen, the first martyr. But Paul now understood that in harassing and arresting Christians, he was also tormenting Jesus Himself – so closely does our Lord identify with the members of His Body. While Paul had not known, and certainly not followed, Christ during His ministry, he now took up the task of being His most avid preacher.
Before He had ascended into heaven, “Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved’” (Mark 16:15-16). Our Savior chose Paul who did all he could to destroy the Church to become its greatest missionary. If we ever find ourselves discouraged by our sins and failures, we have only to think of St. Paul. God has a vital plan for each of us that is meant for our own good and the good of the world. Let us trust in Him and ask Him to transform us into the whole and holy people He designed us to be.
Suggested missionary action: We can ask St. Paul to guide all missionaries. We can also support the efforts in our own parish to welcome and teach all who want to join the Church.