January 25, 2018
Conversion of St. Paul
Acts 22: 3 – 16; Ps 117; Mark 16: 15 – 18
It was a radical, life changing moment when Paul experienced the great light, heard the voice and learned that it was Jesus the Nazorean whom he persecuted. He is left in a kind of anguish, certainly a fear – now blinded by the light and led by hand – a man once in charge, powerful, zealous and now extremely dependent.
It was also quite an experience for Ananias called by God to go to Paul whom he knew as a dangerous man. Before Paul will become the great bearer of the Good News to countless others, Ananias, a very reluctant but obedient messenger, becomes a bearer of the Good News to Paul – he brings a word of healing “recover your sight” and a word of instruction “get up and get yourself baptized.”
Ananias enters Paul’s life and exits; whether they ever met again we do not know. But we do know from Paul’s letters that there were other “Ananiases” in his life as an apostle. There was Barnabas who sought him out, Prisca and Aquila who risked their lives for his sake, Lydia who invited him into her home, and a whole list of people to whom Paul, in Romans 16, sends greetings – kinsmen, fellow prisoners, fellow workers – dear and beloved to him.
In our own journey of faith, we are not alone, isolated from others – no one goes it alone – this is not God’s way with us. Through Paul’s experience the Lord reveals to us some of His wisdom, His mercy – He does send people into our lives, messengers of the Good News – some reluctantly, some unaware, some aware of their call. Like Ananias, they may bring healing, consolation, encouragement, instruction, challenge in the Lord’s name
Paul had the grace to listen to Ananias and to obey. It is through this healing, listening, obedience that he becomes the Apostle to the Gentiles and ultimately lays down his life. That we may seek the grace to recognize, embrace and live the Good News however it comes – through whomever it comes – whenever it comes.
The prayer over the offerings must be our prayer: As we celebrate the divine mysteries, O Lord, we pray, may the Spirit fill us with that light of faith with which He constantly enlightened the blessed Apostle Paul for the spreading of Your glory. Through Christ our Lord.