As I wait for my 100,000 mile Subaru to get an oil change and tire rotation, I’m thinking how important small repairs and changes to an automobile can be for its life. Likewise, my brother in-law texted me earlier today to say he has a new cell number, and we had a nice text exchange. I thought that if something as small as a phone number change can lead to improved human relationships, how about the complete change of one’s life? That’s what today’s feast, the Conversion of St. Paul, is about: how one person’s complete transformation in Christ can literally alter the world.
We know the story (Acts 9: 1-21): On his way to Damascus to arrest Christians, Saul of Tarsus falls to the ground (the Bible doesn’t mention a ‘high-horse’, or any horse at all); he’s blinded; hears and sees Jesus, and is informed what he must now do. While his conversion is undeniably special, it still serves as a model for every Christian conversion, even daily conversion. Every time we are sorry for our sins and selfishness, we can be moved by grace to begin again. We ask Jesus, “Who are you?” and “What shall I do, sir?” Jesus answers with the strength of his presence and grace (often in sacramental confession) to lead us to better service and discipleship.
It is true that today we feel the ongoing power of St. Paul’s conversion, but we will share in this power ourselves, if we follow his lead and love of the Lord in the small conversions of each day. While cars run better with changed oil (and battery, I just found out…), we live better with changed lives. St. Paul, pray for us!