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Conversation of St. Paul 2013 Jubilee Year Edition :: op-stjoseph.org

Conversation of St. Paul 2013 Jubilee Year Edition :: op-stjoseph.org



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Published by: SaintJoseph on Jan 21, 2009
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The Conversion of St. Paul – Jubilee Year EditionScripture ReadingsFirst
Acts 22:3-16
Acts 9:1-22
1 Cor 7:29-31
Mark 16:15-18Prepared by: Fr. James Cuddy, O.P.1.
Subject Matter 
From the USCCB website: “In observance of the Year of St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI hasgranted permission to observe the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on Sunday this year;normally this feast would not be observed when it falls on a Sunday. Parishes may celebratethe Third Sunday in Ordinary Time or they may observe the Feast of the Conversion of St.Paul with its proper texts from the Roman Missal (using the Preface of Apostles I or II) andthe Lectionary for Mass (no. 519). In addition, the recitation of the Creed is included, andbecause there are only two readings provided in the Lectionary for Mass, the secondReading of the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is used.”
The connection between conversion and evangelization.2.
Exegetical Notes
Paul notes in Acts 22 the breadth and depth of his rabbinical training and daily life as a Jew,and that it was only through the personal encounter with Christ that was converted. Luke’sinclusion of the time of day at which the conversion took place is unique to this account of theconversion and emphasizes that Paul was not dreaming or imagining Christ’s intervention.Upon seeing the great light from the sky, Saul falls to the ground – a typical response to thepresence of God (cf. Abram in Gen 17:3, Eze 43:3).
The second reading asserts that the parousia could occur at any moment, and the Christianmust remain watchful for the coming of the Lord. “He must keep himself detached from thisworld that is passing away. In this sense, even the married must live with detachment, i.e.fulfilling the duties of their state that involve them in the cares of this world without attachingtheir hearts to this world” (
In the Gospel, the Church sees her charge to universal evangelization to “the whole world”and “every creature.” The conditions of salvation are faith and baptism; the two are never separated. Every person must answer the invitation to new life in Christ.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: "I came not to call the righteous, butsinners." He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, butshows them in word and deed his Father's boundless mercy for them and the vast "joy inheaven over one sinner who repents". The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life "for the forgiveness of sins".
The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversionis first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: "Restore us tothyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!" God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is indiscovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heartis converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced.
The missionary mandate:
Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be theuniversal sacrament of salvation, the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospelto all men.
Missionary motivation:
It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every agereceives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christurges us on." Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of thetruth"; that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth.Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are alreadyon the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go outto meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universalplan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.
The Church receives from the Gospel the full revelation of the truth about man. Whenshe fulfills her mission of proclaiming the Gospel, she bears witness to man, in the name of Christ, to his dignity and his vocation to the communion of persons. She teaches him thedemands of justice and peace in conformity with divine wisdom.4.
Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities
St. John Chrysostom
: The most important thing of all to St. Paul was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else;were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers. Hepreferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than tobe without that love and be among the great and honored.
St. Thomas Aquinas
: To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.
Lumen Gentium
: Christ . . . continually fulfills His prophetic office until the completemanifestation of glory. He does this not only through the hierarchy . . ., but also through thelaity whom He made His witnesses and to whom He gave understanding of the faith and anattractiveness in speech so that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in their daily socialand family life. They conduct themselves as children of the promise, and thus strong in faithand in hope they make the most of the present, and with patience await the glory that is to
come. Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but even in theprogram of their secular life let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestlingagainst the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness. . . . Thisevangelization, that is, this announcing of Christ by a living testimony as well as by thespoken word, takes on a specific quality and a special force in that it is carried out in theordinary surroundings of the world.
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The contemporary world is marked bya rift between the Gospel and culture, by a secularized vision of salvation that tends toreduce even Christianity to “merely human wisdom, a pseudo- science of well-being.” TheChurch is aware that she must take “a giant step forward in her evangelization effort, andenter into a new stage of history in her missionary dynamism.” The Church's social doctrineis situated within this pastoral vision: “The
new evangelization
, which the modern worldurgently needs, ... must include among its essential elements a proclamation of the Church'ssocial doctrine.”5.
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman saw in the conversion of St. Paul a model for his own entrance into the Church. He held that St. Paul’s conversion, while dramatic, was “noradical change of religious principle.” He simply recognized that Christ was the promisedMessiah. The zeal that characterized his life as a Pharisee remained until he won themartyr’s crown. So it was with Newman. His Anglican doctrine eventually led his to theChurch and the process of conversion prepared him to be one of the most influentialpreachers and evangelizers of the 19
century. “Who has not felt a fear lest he be wanderingfrom the true doctrine of Christ? Let him cherish and obey the holy light of conscience withinhim, as Saul did; let him carefully study the Scriptures, as Saul did not; and the God who hadeven mercy on the persecutor of His saints will assuredly shed His grace upon him and bringhim in to the truth as it is in Jesus.”
On February 17, 1945, Israel Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, and his wife received thesacrament of baptism. Upon being received into the Church, Zolli was interviewed andasked, "Then you believe that the Messiah has come?" "Yes, positively," replied Zolli. "I havebelieved it many years. And now I am so firmly convinced of the truth of it that I can face thewhole world and defend my faith with the certainty and solidity of the mountains." Theinterview continued, "But why didn’t you join one of the Protestant denominations, which arealso Christian?" He answered, "Because protesting is not attesting. I do not intend toembarrass anyone by asking: ‘Why wait 1,500 years to protest?’ The Catholic Church wasrecognized by the whole Christian world as the true Church of God for 15 consecutivecenturies. No man can halt at the end of those 1,500 years and say that the Catholic Churchis not the Church of Christ without embarrassing himself seriously. I can accept only thatChurch which was preached to all creatures by my own forefathers, the Twelve who, like me,issued from the Synagogue.” For the full account of his conversion and famous interview, seehttp://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2002/0212clas.asp.6.
Quotations from Pope Benedict XVI

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