Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all presented today with the story of the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, on how Saul the fanatical young Pharisee and persecutor of the early Church turned over a new leaf and became one of the most ardent defenders of the Christian faith. Then we also heard the account from the Gospels regarding the Lord speaking about Himself as the Bread of Life, in continuation from the readings of the past few days.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles, the account of the conversion of Saul the Pharisee as mentioned earlier. Saul was a young Pharisee who was very headstrong and fanatical in his beliefs, as he embarked on a campaign of extermination against the early Christians, whom he saw as the heretical followers of Jesus, Whom the Pharisees as part of the Sanhedrin had condemned to death and then crucified through the Romans as a false Messiah. Saul was convinced that what he was doing was the will of God.
But Saul was mistaken, and amidst his efforts to eradicate the Christians in Damascus, he encountered the Lord Who called him to repent and turn away from his wrong path. The Lord convinced Saul that in truth he had been pursuing the wrong actions and by his attitude and works, he had in fact persecuted the Lord Himself. Through His signs and works, He would convince Saul of the truth. And as Saul ended up being blinded and then later healed by the grace of God, he experienced a great change in heart and turned towards the Lord henceforth.
He turned towards the Lord, Who in our Gospel today preached to the people about Himself as the Bread of Life and how He would give them all His own Body and Blood to all of His beloved people to partake, to eat and drink of His Precious Body and Blood that in doing so, they may gain the assurance to eternal life and glory. They shall find the salvation that God has promised to them through His Son, the same Jesus Christ. Back then, they could not have understood yet what the Lord meant, and quite a few of His followers and disciples actually even left and abandoned Him after this Bread of Life discourse, as stated by the Gospel itself.
That moment was when the Lord revealed to the people of what He would do for the sake of their salvation. Later on, as shown at the Last Supper, when the Lord offered His Body and Blood to His disciples, in the form of bread and wine that they broke together and shared, those having been transformed by the power of God to the matter and reality of His own Body and Blood, through that act, linked to His Passion, sacrifice and death on the Cross, His act of supreme sacrifice and love just the day after on Good Friday, all of us have seen the Lord in His Body and Blood, in the Holy Eucharist He Himself has instituted and given to us through His Church.
And it was this same truth and revelation which Saul has turned towards, as he received the truth from God and His Holy Spirit, by the grace of baptism. He was awakened to the truth that he did not know earlier on, and hence it was why this most fanatical and fervent persecutor of early Christians turned towards the Lord with his newfound faith, having seen and witnessed the Lord and received His wisdom and truth. From then on, Saul, having changed his name to Paul would become an ever more courageous and fervent defender of the Christian faith and truth, and he would do a lot of works and efforts in ministering to the faithful people of God all throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, through his many Epistles and journeys.
Now, all of us as Christians have also been called by God to be His disciples, witnesses and missionaries, to be like St. Paul and the many other Apostles, disciples and the innumerable saints who had dedicated their lives and lived them worthily for the Lord, being great role models, examples and inspirations to help more and more people to come to the Lord and to know Him more. They proclaimed the Lord not just with mere words alone but also through actions, in their building of a vibrant Christian community founded upon God’s truth and love, and even more importantly, in how they loved each other and cared for the needs of those who are lacking and who are suffering.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all therefore also called to do the same in our lives, to be exemplary and in following the laws and commandments of the Lord faithfully. And if God could call a great sinner like St. Paul, then why can’t we do the same like what he had done and answer God’s call with a firm conviction? Let us all do our best to proclaim the Lord and His truth, His love and salvation to all the nations, in every single things we say and do in life. Let us live our lives wholeheartedly and commit ourselves to the Lord, so that we may be ever courageous and true beacons of His light in our darkened world and times. May God bless us and all of our efforts and actions, now and always. Amen.