First Reading: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22
Psalm: Ps 117:1bc, 2
Gospel: Mk 16:15-18
Saul of Tarsus was a leading persecutor of the early Christians. He
was a zealous Pharisee and though he was born of Jewish parents, he
was a citizen of Rome, or in other words, a Gentile. He had all the
qualifications to be a hated man of the early Christians and even by
ordinary Jews who despised the Romans.
We can imagine the shock of Christians and Jews alike when Saul, the
tireless persecutor of Christians, became Paul the tireless apostle
of Jesus. We can surmise – Paul was surprised himself and probably
had great anxiety before he began preaching especially since his
credibility must have been at its lowest point during this time.
Why does Jesus choose people like Saul – people whom we would
consider the most unqualified to be His apostles? Those of us who
are professionals know and believe that when it comes to
recruitment, qualifications and skills fit for the job are crucial
criteria. Jesus seems to turn these beliefs upside down when he
chose Paul and many of his Twelve Apostles.
Perhaps we should remind ourselves that our Christian Church is very
much unlike a business or any human institution. Our Church is a
community and it welcomes all people from all walks of life. Our
Church does not run on the rules of a business or an exclusive
club. Everyone in the Church is a qualified member, no matter how
imperfect we may be. Jesus goes further in that even the lowest of
all members of our community has the potential to be the greatest in
There is nothing more encouraging and more inspiring in knowing that
as Christians, we can be and are chosen by Jesus to be great leaders
or high achievers of our Church. It makes us think that maybe the
least we can do is to respond with passion and commitment to bring
the Word of God to all our neighbors.
POINTS TO PONDER
If God called me to service in my church, how would I react? Would
I immediately say “yes” or would I step back and feel burdened?