Paul’s conversion was purely God’s initiative. At the same time, for this grace of God not to have been in vain, Paul needed to accept and embrace it without looking back to his past.
This grace was so overpowering that his whole energy and attention was now redirected towards fulfilling the mission given to him to bring the Gospel to the non-Jews.
The zeal that he had and his previous fanaticism towards a perfect observance of the Torah (to the extent that he became a vehement persecutor of Christ’s followers) was now redirected to the zealous and determined work for the Gospel.
We see in St. Paul’s conversion experience, as in many other saints also, the dynamic of God’s grace and human cooperation. At the same time, the element of no turning back: the metanoia (change of heart and mind) was so complete that Paul could say, “For to me life is Christ” (Phil 1:21).
Thus, another way by which God’s grace can be seen is in terms of God’s love that conquered the once-hardened and misdirected heart of the former Saul. This love was too powerful to resist. No wonder, it is said that love conquers all.
Gospel • Mark 16:15-18
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2023,” St. Paul’s, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.