Do you ever see something that just makes you say Hmm? The first reading for today’s Mass is Acts 9: 1 – 19. I am sure you are wondering exactly how this would make you say Hmm. Well I’ll tell you. In fact, I’ll tell you even if you weren’t wondering.
This particular chapter of Acts is titled in some bibles as “The Conversion of Saul” and in others “Saul Becomes a Believer”. As you may know Saul was renamed Paul by Jesus and went on to become one of the most well-known apostles because of his writings. He is responsible for most of the letters or epistles in the New Testament. I know, this isn’t enough to make you want to go Hmm. But there’s more.
If we look at the story of Saul’s conversion we will see that he started out as an ardent persecutor of the newly formed church. He was responsible for hunting down and persecuting many Christians during those early days of the movement. Saul was on his way to Damascus to see what kind of trouble he could get into when there was a flash of light and he fell to the ground. While he was down in the dust he heard a voice talking to him asking him why he was persecuting him (the voice, who if you haven’t guessed was Jesus). When Saul fell he was struck blind and it was only after he was converted and the Holy Spirit entered him that he could once again see. Just like the song actually, “I was blind, but now I see”.
Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” – Acts: 9 3 -4
In a nutshell we can say Saul fell off his horse, became Paul and was converted. Again, what has this got to do with saying Hmm? As I was reading this I realized that this is kind of what happened to me. My name was never Saul, but it is Paul and it was my falling off the back of a truck that caused me to open my eyes and see. It was after that incident that I began to reexamine my beliefs and the whole “God thing”. In other words, I was blind and now I see.
I have “heard” God talking to me, like Saul did. It wasn’t quite as forceful but in its own way it was just as important and powerful. I was never persecutor of the followers of Jesus but I certainly wasn’t a true believer. Like Ananias who Jesus came to in a dream telling him to go to Saul, I had a dream (really a series of dreams) where Jesus was telling me to follow Him and trust in Him. I just finished writing a short book about that experience and will publish it soon at the amazingly low price of free, although I will gladly accept donations. But there will be more information when I release the book.
Back to Saul and I. Saul became Paul just like I became well, Paul, and he went on to become one of most prolific of the apostles regarding writing and teaching. Yes, there is some disagreement on whether he actually was the author of all that has been attributed to him, but he still wrote a lot. He also became one of the better teachers out there, spreading the Word about Jesus and the Resurrection. He is also the one credited with developing the theology of Christianity, although it wasn’t called that at the time. Like so many of the early apostles and disciples he became a martyr, losing his life for believing in Jesus.
He and I are similar in so many ways. I write just like… well okay maybe not lust like him. I spread the Word just like… okay maybe not that either. How about I have been imprisoned just… no I have never been in jail. I guess I am not exactly like Paul other than we both fell off the back of something and our eyes were opened.
But no matter how you look at it, it still makes you want to go hmm.
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