Posted by: fvbcdm | January 23, 2015

Catholic Daily Message for the Feast of Saint Ildephonsus (23 Jan 2015)

Catholic Daily Message for the Feast of Saint Ildephonsus (23 Jan 2015)

[This Sunday], we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.  If there had been newspapers, television, or radios in the first Christian century, the event we celebrate today would have been a hot item and a terrific headline in the news media. Saul of Tarsus, the brilliant, well-educated, deeply religious, and violently anti-Jesus enforcer of the Jewish law, was suddenly now preaching in the synagogues of Damascus the idea that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ, the Lord!

He had been on his way from Jerusalem, where he had been living even though he was from what is now southern Turkey, to Damascus, the capital of Syria to the north. He had been authorized by the temple authorities in Jerusalem to round up all the followers of Jesus that he could find and throw them into prison. This new religion which taught that Jesus of Nazareth was the Savior had to be stopped since it was attracting more and more followers. And Saul was going to do it.

Approaching Damascus, Saul and his companions were attacked (what other word is there?) by a blindingly bright light and a powerful force that threw Saul to the ground. In that very humbled and confused condition, Saul heard an unknown voice demanding of him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Lying blinded on the road, all Saul could say was, “Who are you, sir?” “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and there you will be told what you must do.” Rarely had Jesus been so rough with anyone. His call of his twelve apostles had not involved violence, blindness, or severe reprimanding.

This roughness of Jesus with Saul was, in fact a tremendous blessing. Saul got up and was led into the city to the home of a certain Judas. There he waited for three days—no doubt the longest days of his life—for something to happen. During that period, he fasted and prayed. Then a Christian named Ananias showed up and laid his hands upon the blind Saul. “Saul, my brother,” he said, “the Lord has sent me—Jesus who appeared to you on the road.” At that moment, Saul regained his sight, both physical and also intellectual and spiritual. He now saw clearly that Jesus was no charlatan, but in fact, the Savior of the world and that the Christians were quite correct in their following of Jesus, the Christ.

We know the rest. Saul’s name was changed to Paul—Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, Christ’s “Vessel of Choice” to bring the gospel to the non-Jewish nations. His letters to Christians, both communities and individuals, would come to be a major part of the New Testament and therefore of Sacred Scripture and of Divine Revelation. And those writings of his, so immensely rich in their doctrine about Our Lord Jesus Christ, will continue to produce sanctity until the end of time, for the Catholic Church will continue to propose them to the human race as God’s holy word as long as time shall last.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note: This message was composed some years ago.

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