|The Conversion of St. Paul, by Caravaggio, c. 1610|
As we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, we come to the end of the eight day observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Saul was a Zealot who “intensely persecuted” those who followed Christ. In short, he would most certainly fall under the category of ‘real bad guy.’ And yet, no less than three times, in the book of Acts we hear the story referenced of how the resurrected Jesus appeared to Saul, temporarily blinding him and asking Saul why he continues to persecute the Lord. Needless to say, that got Saul’s attention!
Later Saul changes his name to Paul and for the next 30 years serves the Lord with great love. His letters (epistles) are the earliest writings after the death of Christ and account for a third of the New Testament.
In my ministry people often tell me of how they feel they are not worthy to: go to church, receive communion, to fulfill a certain ministry, etc. At those times I will often point to the life of St. Paul and quickly remind them that none of us are worthy and at the same time we are ALL worthy. This popular conversion story should be a daily reminder to all of us that God uses all things and ALL people for the greater glory of God.
And just as we heard a few Sundays ago, the story of Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter, and again with the conversion of Saul to Paul, we need to remember that when God looks at you and me God not only sees what we are…but also what we can become.
So what do you think that will be?