Let’s follow the example of St. Paul
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Homily by Fr. Roy Cimagala
January 25 is the Feast of that dramatic conversion of St. Paul. It’s a feast that reminds us that Christ can choose anybody to work with him as an apostle, because in fact, everybody is meant to be one, if he truly is consistent with his human and Christian dignity.
A man, given the way he is, and especially when he takes his Christianity seriously, is and should always be an apostle. He should always be concerned with everybody else, and should help in giving the most important thing in our life—our own salvation, our own perfection as a person and as a child of God.
On this feast, the gospel reading is about Christ commissioning his apostles to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mk 16,15) Somehow, it gives us the idea that the Gospel of Christ that brings Christ to the people is meant to unite all of us in him.
And that’s because we are meant to form one family with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. In fact, we are meant to become living members of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church.
That is why, this feast also marks the culmination of the Christian Unity Octave, that effort to bring all of us who profess belief in Christ together, in spite of our unavoidable differences.
Some of these differences are legitimate and tolerable and can generate a lot of good for all of us. In this sense, the more differences we have, the better for us. Others may have to be resolved in some process of dialogue. And the Church current thrust on synodality can be helpful in this regard.
What this feast also reminds us of is for us to imitate as much as possible the example of St. Paul who readily converted even while in the middle of a campaign against the early Christians. Like St. Paul, we should be ready to make some drastic changes in life if only to follow what Christ is indicating to us in some specific ways.
Remember those parables about the hidden treasure (cfr. Mt 13, 44) and the pearl of great price (cfr. Mt 13,45-46). Both parables can mean that we should be ready to leave behind certain things if only to pursue the specific vocation God is giving us.
I have known a lot of good and holy people who have left behind their profession, business and their former way of life to become priests or some consecrated persons, or just ordinary lay people who assume a lifetime commitment to seek sanctity and do apostolate in the middle of the world.
We ought to know that everyone has a vocation from God. But as to what specific vocation we are given, we should try our best to discern through prayers so we can hear what God is telling or showing us. We should try our best that our sense of vocation remains always sharp, able to give constant impulses to our daily activities.
We have to be wary of just pursuing and developing our life simply according to our human goals with hardly any consideration of what God really wants us to be and to do, thereby trapping us in our own world, and preventing us to enter into the spiritual and supernatural world of God meant for us, since God wants it that way.