Friday, January 25, 2013

Conversion of St. Paul: makeover

Acts 22:3-16 or 9:1-22; Ps 117 Go out to all the world and tell the Good News; Mark 16:15-18

Today in the Church we celebrate the memory of St. Paul's conversion to the faith. 

One of the most hateful and despicable men in regards to persecution of Christians gets an make over.
This is a real man who had real emotions and real ties to destroying Christians and message of Christ.  And yet, out of the blue there is this change, this 180 degree turn about. 

"A light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

"He said, who are you sir?  Then the reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." 

There it is, the initial encounter that changes the heart of man.  There it is, the initial encounter that has changed the face of the church.  There it is, the  initial encounter that reminds us that God is active in our history; God is on the look out for men and women of his choosing to spread the good news.

From the clear blue sky, light shall rain down and hearts are transformed. 

It is often said that God loves us unconditionally, that God loves us as we are.  But what the conversion of Paul  reminds us is that God wants to change us, convert us, open our eyes. 

In deed God loves us but his love seeks to penetrate our hearts and transform our lives. 

Two things about conversions:

1) it is a surprise.  All were surprised when they heard of Paul's transformation. Which means that we have to create space in our life for God to surprise us. 

We have to be ready to be surprised.  With God we can no longer say we do not like surprises.  For if we are against surprises then ultimately we are against God. 

2)  We have to let God use us to surprise others.  Think about that today.  HOw can you bring the light of Christ in your life, your family, your work place and bring forth that surprising reality of truth in love. 

Be surprised!  Be the surprise! Bring a surprise with you!

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