St. Paul was not one of the original apostles. While persecuting Christians after the death of Jesus, he was thrown to the ground by a bright light. He heard a voice asking him;
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
He responded with;
“Who are you, Lord?”
Jesus answered him,
“I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
But get up and enter the city and you will be told what you are to do.”
Paul was blinded by the light for three days after which scales fell from his eyes. He then joined the apostles, becoming known as “The Apostle of the Gentiles”. He wrote many of the epistles in the Bible. He is the patron saint of writers, the press, and missionaries.
St. Paul was not Jewish like the other Apostles. He convinced St. Peter that Gentiles did not need to become Jewish in order to follow Jesus. They then decided that it was not necessary for Gentiles to be circumcised in order to be Christian.
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul on Jan. 25. We should all be able to relate in a personal way to the conversion of St. Paul.
We are all sinners.
Sometimes it feels as if ‘the scales have fallen from our eyes’. One day we are blindly acting like hypocrites and then we awaken to a new day. We know without a doubt that our behavior must change. This is a conversion experience. Conversion can be frightening at first. It is God asking us to change our lifestyle and behavior. Hopefully, we can respond like St. Paul did…with tireless zeal and love. If we do let God direct our lives, we will be filled with an indescribable joy. This joy that is also known as the Peace of Christ.
As we celebrate the feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul, let us ask ourselves the following questions.
- Do we want to live as lukewarm Christians or follow Jesus now and experience his forgiveness and love?
- What does it really mean to be a Christian?
- Do people know I am a Christian by my actions?
- Which behaviors in my life need to come to an end to make me a true follower of Christ?
- What is Jesus asking me to do with my life?