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January 25, 2023

Conversion of Saint Paul

Acts 22: 3-16

”I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. 

From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ 

Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.’ Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus. “A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came to me; and standing beside me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ 

In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

Becoming Spokespeople for Christ

When I was a young adult, I actively examined other faith traditions to prove to myself that the Catholic faith was the one, true faith. I was a cradle Catholic. My parents brought me into this faith. I needed to be sure. After months of reading, visiting other churches and attending services, it became clear to me that the Catholic Church, founded on Peter, was the true faith. I had to find Jesus in my own way. Blind acceptance did not work for me.

Saul blindly believed in the Jewish faith of his heritage. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared to him that his eyes were opened to the reality of Jesus as Messiah. Paul became the spokesperson for the Way and brought many Jews and Gentiles to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Each of us needs to discover Jesus for ourselves. Then we must bring the Good News of salvation to others by our words and actions. 

—Kathy England is a Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, OH.

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father,
pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.

Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith
and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ
so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.

Open my heart to hear the Gospel

and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.

Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth
and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.  

In moments of hesitation, remind me:

  • If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
  • If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
  • If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?

God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit
I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith,
grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel
and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

—Prayer for the New Evangelization, USCCB website


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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January 25, 2023

Conversion of Saint Paul

Acts 22: 3-16

”I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. 

From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ 

Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.’ Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus. “A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came to me; and standing beside me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ 

In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

Becoming Spokespeople for Christ

When I was a young adult, I actively examined other faith traditions to prove to myself that the Catholic faith was the one, true faith. I was a cradle Catholic. My parents brought me into this faith. I needed to be sure. After months of reading, visiting other churches and attending services, it became clear to me that the Catholic Church, founded on Peter, was the true faith. I had to find Jesus in my own way. Blind acceptance did not work for me.

Saul blindly believed in the Jewish faith of his heritage. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared to him that his eyes were opened to the reality of Jesus as Messiah. Paul became the spokesperson for the Way and brought many Jews and Gentiles to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Each of us needs to discover Jesus for ourselves. Then we must bring the Good News of salvation to others by our words and actions. 

—Kathy England is a Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, OH.

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father,
pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.

Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith
and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ
so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.

Open my heart to hear the Gospel

and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.

Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth
and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.  

In moments of hesitation, remind me:

  • If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
  • If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
  • If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?

God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit
I might hear the call of the New Evangelization to deepen my faith,
grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel
and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

—Prayer for the New Evangelization, USCCB website


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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