Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we begin the discourse on the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, who was once Saul, a great enemy and persecutor of the faithful, who is truly the unlikeliest of all people to become a champion of the faithful. Yet, that was what God willed for Saul, as he was called to leave behind his former life and existence, and to embrace a new life and purpose as God’s chosen servant.
Saul persecuted the Church and the early Christians so greatly that people feared even the mere utterance of his name and it was initially very difficult for the faithful to accept the fact that suddenly this great enemy of Christ and His Church has become the follower of Christ. But that was what God had done for His people, and what might seem to be impossible to them, is perfectly possible for Him.
Saul encountered the Lord on his way to Damascus, filled with anger, hatred and jealousy against all Christians, in his blind obedience to the Law and the way the Law was observed by his Pharisee fellows, and as a result, he acted in rash action against the followers of the Lord, with the desire to bring to justice all those who believed in God. But God touched his heart and opened his mind, making a profound change in the direction of his life forever.
That was how Saul, after the life-changing experience and conversion, went through a moment of reckoning and change, finally accepting the Lord Jesus as his Lord, Master and Saviour, being baptised into the Church and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. And in all these we surely are able to see how God brought about such a transformation, allowing His grace to work wonders in St. Paul, and the same can also happen to us.
This must be understood together with what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord Jesus spoke to the people regarding Himself as the Bread of Life, and the offering of His own flesh and His own Blood, to be the real food and drink for the people that all those who partake in this food, His own Most Precious Body and in His own Most Precious Blood, will share in the new life that He has offered them.
All of us received the Eucharist through the hands of the priest, who offered it in the persona Christi during the consecration at the Holy Mass, through which the bread and wine are changed, transformed and converted completely into the essence and reality of the very Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And the Lord Jesus spoke to the people that all those who receive the Bread of Life, that is Christ Himself, will receive a new life and not perish, essentially referring to all of us who share in the wonders of His Eucharist.
And this has an even deeper meaning and significance for each and every one of us, as we have to compare what had happened to St. Paul, his conversion and change in life, to that of our own. St. Paul, as Saul, received the Lord and encountered Him in His Presence, and accepted His calling to be His disciple, embracing wholeheartedly a new life that transformed him so completely as we just discussed earlier, so much so that no one could have recognised him, be it his friends or his former targets, the early Christians.
Therefore, all of us are challenged in our own lives, to make the same change and transformation to happen to our own lives, so that, by accepting the Lord and embracing Him fully with love, each and every one of us may be renewed and reconciled with Him, and transformed to be His true disciples, as all those who truly believe in God and love Him with all of our hearts and with all of our might.
Let us all turn to the Lord from now on, dedicating ourselves completely to Him, and let us all show our love towards Him with a new strength and zeal, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, who followed and dedicated himself to God, all of the days of his life. May God be glorified through us, and may He continue to guide us and bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.