May 10, 2009: 5th Sunday of Easter
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how Paul had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. (Acts of the Apostles 9:26-27)
During this Easter season we continue to read from the Acts of the Apostles and to learn about the first Christians. Today’s reading reminds us that Saul who was later known as St. Paul was not initially a follower of Jesus. In fact, he persecuted some of the early Christians and even approved the death of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. We know from reading the Scriptures that Paul experienced a dramatic conversion when he Jesus spoke to him on the road to Damascus. Paul was blinded for awhile after being knocked off his horse. Jesus got his attention! He eventually became known as and called an “apostle” even though he was not among the original twelve apostles. He was a great missionary and because of his faith and preaching many people came to believe in Jesus. Paul was martyred, beheaded, for proclaiming the name of Jesus.
There is much more to learn about St. Paul, Google “Paul the Apostle” for more information. Pray to him for the courage to proclaim Jesus through your life. Surely you will not be asked to die a martyr’s death. But you are asked to put God first in your life. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin said, “To die of the love of God is the surest way of going to Him at once [after we have completed our life on earth].”