Friday, April 23, 2010
Third Week of Easter
Acts 9: 1 – 20
This morning we heard one of the most familiar and dramatic passages in the New Testament: the Conversion of Saint Paul. This event is often the subject of scholarly dissertations and homilies. It is also a favorite subject in Art. One can call to mind, for example, the dramatic painting of Carravaggio.
But what has happened here goes far beyond words or pictures. It is, in a real way, a manifestation of God’s transforming Grace in the life of one of the most important figures in Christianity.
Saul of Tarsus becomes Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. There are also important Pastoral Lessons contained in this ninth chapter of Acts. Underlying all of this legitimate drama is a profound truth expressed in Ascetical Theology, that is, the deep and hidden effects of Grace in the Spiritual Life of a person.
It is important to remember always: no one is beyond the pale of God’s Mercy. In fact, God seeks us out as He sought out Paul, Augustine and so many others. Just recently, the church celebrated “Mercy Sunday,” a feast which brings this consoling truth to us in a profound way.
May the conversion of Saint Paul, detailed for us in today’s first Scripture Lesson, be both a reminder and a consolation to all of us who struggle each day to remain faithful. Through the intercession of the Apostle to the Gentiles, may we rise after each fall and continue our journey to God.
Christianity is Risen!
Christianity is truly Risen!