Sunday, January 25, 2009
Today the Church around the world celebrates the "Conversion of St. Paul." Many refer to this as "The Damascus Event." Saul who became Paul was approaching Damascus with the intent of arresting those Jews who had become Christians. All of a sudden he was surrounded by a brilliant light which blinded him. Then he realized when he asked the voice that he heard, "Who are you, Lord?" and the answer came, "I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting." A few days later Saul was baptized by Ananias. Then began the adventure of Paul, the Apostle. This morning we attended Mass at the Church of St. Paul on Toronto's west side. It is the only Maltese Catholic parish in all of North America. Paul was once ship wrecked off the coast of Malta. The Maltese cared for Paul and his companions. And, they listened to and accepted the message of the Good News about Jesus Christ that Paul offered. The people of Malta have remained Catholic Christians from day one.
The artist Caravaggio painted a dramatic picture of Paul lying on the ground bathed in light while his horse gazes at him. Even if Paul had been only walking toward Damascus, he was knocked off his high horse of arrogant dislike for Christians, and for all those who did not fit into his former way of thinking. Somewhere inside of us there may be a high horse rearing up with its own sort of baggage that wants to make us lesser than we should be. St. Paul can help us with his prayers of intercession and with his insights liberally sown throughout his letters.
There is a hymn to St. Paul called "Lead Us Great Teacher Paul." In that song we ask Paul to follow him as he learned "wisdom's way."
As we continue this Year of St. Paul, may you be guided by Paul to a deeper knowledge of Jesus, Way, Truth and Life.