Today’s First Reading: Acts 9:1-20 – THIRD WEEK OF EASTER: Friday, 20 April 2018
We can appreciate the hesitation of Ananias in meeting Paul. One would have a quite a few initial questions to ask him first. This conversion of Saul was a critical event in the Church’s expansion. It is reported three times in the New Testament. The difficulty of reaching out to the Gentiles is shown from the fact that a miraculous intervention was required at each step forward.
This event was also important for Paul. He who had persecuted the Church suddenly experienced faith, the Lord’s love and freedom from the Torah Law all flooding in on him at once. And it was all free. This experience gave unity to his later life and theology. How did it change him? There would still be disagreements and bouts with his temper. It would take a while for this experience to sink in.
The same is true for us. We have our religious experiences and afterwards our personal limitations do not completely disappear. There are many little turnings in our life over a lifespan which is called to be an en bloc transformation in Christ. This gradual process gives unity to our life.
Paul’s conversion did not make him an instant saint. He was a saint only at the end of his life. The same is true of us. We become holy by gradual transformation.
Jakarta, 20 April 2018
A Christian Pilgrim