Eucharistic Readings for the Conversion of Saint Paul.
“And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death.” (Acts 26:10)
Today we remember the Conversion of St. Paul. In this Acts reading Paul laments his past hatred against people who followed in the Way. I have noticed that when we take our eyes off the Lord and look at each other we tend to be judgmental and condescending. Paul followed the teachings of his elders, even to the point of bullying those who believed differently. If this is true of us today, then I think we must seek change, and the sooner, the better.
Saul to Paul was a conversion. Conversion is not a condemnation to hell. It is a period of growth. We don’t need chief priests or even our clergy of today to demand how we should live and how we must view the world. We only need our prayers and conscience awareness. We need to put ourselves in a place where we will be able to explain to our children and our grandchildren exactly what we believe and why, and be proud of it. We need to hear what the Spirit of our loving God in Christ Jesus is saying to us.
Paul’s conversion was not completed on the road to Damascus, it only began there. It took him three years before he went back to Jerusalem to be with Peter; (Galatians 1:18), to really come around to God’s Dream. But he did, and we can too. Conversion, that is, changing what we believe and how we feel about God’s relationship with us could take considerable time. But it’s worth it. In my own life I was brought up being taught that homosexuality was a perverted evil. During seminary I underwent a conversion process whereby I learned about the all embracing love of God and that while we are sexual creatures, we are also creatures who need one another for more than just sexual gratification. We need to bond with someone who loves us, and that we also love, and to be with one whom we can trust with our very lives if necessary. God does not make trash. Sexual orientation should not be discriminated against. While I never participated in the bullying of gays or lesbians, I certainly did not advocate for them or befriend them as I should have, and now do. This was a sad time in my life. But I have changed, I have gone through a conversion process with regard to this topic of human relationships. Praise Jesus!
Are there other areas of human relationships that you need to work on and hold in prayer? Where are you with regard to homosexuality, with capital punishment, with abortion, with; (you fill in the blank). If the subject causes you to be defensive, welcome to Saul’s world before he became Paul. Who will you be, converted to be? Follow Jesus!
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John